This book investigates the Catholic Church’s film policy illuminating for the first time, by means of a systematic analysis, a vast body of documents preserved at the Vatican Secret Archives and at numerous Italian Catholic archives – some of them indexed and opened to scholars, like the Archivio Storico dell’Istituto Luigi Sturzo [Historical Archive of the Luigi Sturzo Institute] and the Archivio dell’Istituto per la storia dell’Azione Cattolica e del Movimento Cattolico in Italia Paolo VI [Archive of the Institute for the History of Catholic Action and the Catholic Movement in Italy Paul VI]; other only partially indexed like the Nazareno Taddei Archive or faced with the risk of closure, like the Associazione Cattolica Esercenti Cinema [Catholic Exhibitors’ Association] Archive.

Gianluca della Maggiore is Postdoc Research Fellow in Contemporary History at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. In 2015 he earned a PhD in Historical Studies with a thesis on the Catholic Church’s film policy during Fascism.

Tomaso Subini is Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of Milan. He has been the Principal Investigator of a “National Interest Research Project” (PRIN-2012) on the topics of this book. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the “National Interest Research Project” (PRIN-2015) Love Meetings. Cinema and Sexuality in Italy (1948-1978).



Gianluca della Maggiore and Tomaso Subini

Gianluca della Maggiore

1. A Healthy Modernity
2. Radio and Cinema: Producing the First “talkie” on the Pope
3. The Pacelli-Pizzardo Axis and the Jesuit Network
4. Vatican Film Geopolitics
5. From Rome to the World. The Failure of Catholic Production
6. The Downsizing of the OCIC
7. The Cinematographic “Concordat”
8. Americans: Allies and Enemies
9. The 1935 Inquiry into Cinema
10. “Good Americanism” and the Encyclical on Cinema
11. Anti-Hollywoodism: Testing Classification Systems
12. The Form and Limits of Moralized Cinema

Tomaso Subini

1. Towards a Definition of Religious Cinema
2. Can (Filmic) Images Represent the Sacred?
3. What was the Purpose of Films on St. Francis?
4. “Famous Directors are to be Feared”
5. Religious Cinema vs Obscene Cinema
6. The Clergy in the Cinematographic Apostolate
7. The Answers to an Internal, Confidential Questionnaire
8. Cinema in the Background of the Post-Tridentine Penitential Model
9. Consciousness and the Pre-Reflexive Reaction to Cinema
10. The Fall of Taboos related to Obscenity
11. Administrative Censorship
12. Film Reviews for Parish Movie Theatres
13. Three Different Groups of Catholics
14. Catholics in Ecclesiastical Institutions: “the Pope’s Cinema” and the Baroque Model
15. Catholics in State Institutions: Gian Luigi Rondi and the Double Morals Logic
16. Catholics outside the Institutions: Religious Cinema according to Nazareno Fabbretti