From the moment somebody figured out that the new medium of 'moving pictures' could be used to show images that might not be suitable for all ages and all lifestyles, the movement toward movie censorship began. Censorship is a funny concept. Why should we watch a movie or read a book that someone else thinks is okay for us to watch or read? But evil is something we’re not sure about, so censorship sure is a necessity.
Yet, the biggest bane of censorship can be pointed out to the fact that it strangles creativity. With its strong grip, censorship makes it almost impossible for the creative types to do full justice to their creativity and ideas.
"Censorship in any form is the enemy of creativity, since it cuts off the life blood of creativity ideas.” (Allan Jenkins, Journalist)
I haven't started this post, to write about pros and cons about movie censorship. But, to could give some facts and incidents (mostly strange) involving censorship in various parts of the world.
- In Moscow, 1896, a movie was screened, where in a sequence, 'Napoleon dances with a young lady.' Russian government banned that scene, and its police officers stopped the screening, and burned the copy of the movie. This is considered to be the first censorship in movies.
- Countries like America, Britain, Germany, Japan were the first ones to create censorship boards governed by movie industry guys, rather than the government.
- British Board of Film Censor(BBFC) in 1912 created two censor certificates for movies, 'U' and 'A.' They banned racist remarks, violence, and sexuality. They also censored scenes involving a women fighting with a sword against men. After 1930, thrillers were given 'H' rating and movies with sexual themes are given 'X' rating.
- The most worst kind of censorship happened in Stalin's Russia. Government decided, how much film rolls should be used for a movie. The number of close-ups shots in a movie was also decided by them. At the same period, countries like Austria, Belgium, Portugal, didn't had any movie censorship boards.
- The movie 'Ben-Hur was banned in China, because the authorities thought that it tries to spread Christianity. They also banned 'Avatar', fearing it might cause chaos, regarding some land issues. But China, was the first nation to allow kissing sequence in a movie, without any censorship.
- In Hitler's Germany, propaganda minister Goebbels, watched around 1300 movies for censorship. Hitler formed a rule that , if a women character gets a divorce from her husband, then her character should be killed at last in the movie. Hitler thought that's the right kind of punishment.
- Iranian movie industry is the worst victim of censorship. Directors should submit their film's screenplay before shooting, and get the permission. Women shouldn't wear any modern dress in the movies. Close-up shots are also restricted to particular times. So, the Iranian directors started taking films, with 10 year and 12-year old children. A movie named "Key" , had 3-year old child as the leading actor, but it was banned. The authorities thought the film criticized their government.
From 70's to 90's Hollywood and other movie industries delved responsibly into mature themes for a wide, grown-up audience. Midnight Cowboy, a excellent movie which won the Oscar as best picture of 1969, was rated X; if you weren't at least 18, you couldn't see it. In those times, audiences didn't complain that kids couldn't see these kind of movies. The idea was that intelligent and mature films and the profits from those movies are worth waiting for.
But now, we live in a age, where audience demands instant satisfaction. The kids can't wait for their adrenaline fix and the businessmen , in the name of movie-makers wants to sell it to them.What this gives us is violent entertainment for the young. What it deprives us of is mature entertainment for the mature.