Director Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed gay romance Weekend is set to be banned in a majority of Italy’s cinemas, because the Catholic Church opposes the LGBT themes it presents.
The Catholic Church is able to effectively ban the movie across Italy not only because of its immense sway with the Italian population, but because it owns almost all of the movie theaters in Italy. The church declared this past week that it would not permit any of its theaters to show the film, stating that it did not approve of the film’s message.
Weekend is being screened five years after its premiere in 2011 to coincide with the Italian release of Haigh’s much beloved new drama 45 Years, which gained notoriety for Charlotte Rampling’s Oscar-nominated performance.
The Italian Conference of Bishops’ Film Evaluation Committee, which the Catholic Church uses to rate and censor movies at the 1,100 cinemas it owns, classified Weekend as “not advised, unusable and scabrous (indecent or salacious).”
The announcement has been particularly troubling for film distributor Teodora Film, who was responsible for acquiring Weekend for Italian audiences.
“They decided it was unacceptable, that it should be censored and they have used their power to paralyze the distribution,” Teodora Film president Cesare Petrillo told AFP.
He continued, “Normally a film like this would have been picked up by many of these cinemas. Instead there are whole regions and big cities like Florence, Bergamo and Padova where we have not been able to get it put on. And the only reason for that is that the main characters are gay.”