It’s not difficult to predict for this story of mine a criticism dictated purely by bad faith. In fact those who are offended by it will try to insinuate that I am attacking the story and the scriptures of which they hypocritically claim to be the defenders. Not in the least: to avoid misunderstandings of any kind, I want to state here and now that the story of the Passion is the greatest that I know, and the texts that recount it the most sublime ever written.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, from the opening credits of La ricotta, 1963.


Censorship is a way of becoming acquainted with one’s own weakness and intellectual inadequacy.

Censorship is always a political tool. It is certainly not an intellectual tool. The intellectual tool is criticism, which presupposes knowledge of what is being judged and fought.

Criticising is not destroying, but bringing something back to its right place in the process of things.

To censor is to destroy, or at least to oppose the process of reality.

Censorship buries the subjects that it wants to bury in the archives and indefinitely prevents them from becoming reality. It doesn’t matter if four or five intellectuals read about these subjects and get worked up about them; they have not become realities for the public, and have therefore failed to attain true reality.

Nor can censorship be justified as an expression of the will of an entire people that, believing itself to have critically surpassed certain positions and certain relationships, puts the writings and documents of that culture beyond the pale, as if it were throwing out of the window the books that it has already read and that it considers foolish and outdated.

It being understood that the circulation of ideas cannot be prevented, it is a question of seeing whether and to what extent it is possible to prohibit the circulation of facts and forms and stimuli and performances, visions and perversions of the erotic, the macabre and the awful […].

Federico Fellini, ‘Appunti sulla censura’, in La Tribuna del Cinema, no. 2, August 1958.