Between 1948 (the first elections of the new Republic, that put the Democrazia Cristianain charge of the country) and 1978 (when the first erotic cinemas emerged in Italy), Italian cinema was characterized by increasingly sexualized representations, which caused much public debate. Starting from this observation, the Comizi d’amore project has in the last few years studied the relations between sexuality and cinema in Italy in the post-war period. Yesterday, I was happy to participate in the closing event of the research project at the impressive buildings of the University of Milan.
Just like at the previous conference I attended (the small cinemas conference), the presence of Belgian film historical perspectives in the conference was remarkable. My former PhD supervisor Daniël Biltereyst (Ghent University) delivered a great keynote talk about censorship of Italian neorealist films abroad, particularly in Belgium. Guido Convents (SIGNIS) talked about the fascinating figure of ‘film father’ Felix Morlion (who has been very active first in Belgian film culture and after WW II in Italian film culture), and his attitude towards sexuality. My own presentation focused Belgian-Italian sexploitation films in the 1970s, with a case study focusing on The Devil’s Nightmare/Au service du diable/La terrificante notte del demonio (1972, Jean Brismée).
A big thank you and congratulations to Dalila Missero, Francesco Di Chiara, Valentina Re, Tomaso Subini and Federico Vitella for organizing such a stimulating conference!