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Catholics and cinema: film criticism and film censorship

Ernst Radius
Time period: 1945-1986
Number of interviews: 1 (1 person)
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: July 1986

Type interview: scientific

The collection has not yet been digitized and therefore cannot be viewed directly at Sound & Vision. Digitization can, however, be requested from Sound & Vision via:

Medium: 2 cassette tapes

Ernst Radius talks with Bob Bertina (1914-2012) about Dutch Catholics’ attitudes toward film after 1945. The relationship between Christians and film has never been unequivocal. Bertina was a film critic for the Volkskrant for many years, a member of the editorial board of several (Catholic) film magazines and involved in Katholieke Film Actie (KFA). In particular, it discusses the Catholic film censorship, organized in the Katholieke Film Centrale (KFC), in which leading film critics – besides Bertina Charles Boost and Janus van Domburg – played a role. Between 1945 and 1979, Bertina wrote about films in the Volkskrant. In his early days, film was still considered immoral by the Catholic Church. When the Volkskrant became a progressive newspaper in the late 1960s, Bertina welcomed it. He always sided with art.


Bertina explains the not unproblematic relationship between film criticism and film censorship. The premise endorsed by both ‘camps’, ‘work for good film’, was given different interpretations because the former reasoned primarily from an aesthetic point of view and the latter took a primarily moralistic stance. Bertina refers with approval to the brochure Film en moraal [Film and morality], which the progressive ‘filmpater’ Jac. Dirkse once wrote and in which he advocated, among other things, an independent relationship between Catholic film critics and the Catholic film censors.


Also see this article by Bertina’s that dives into Dutch film critique and Catholicism after the Second World War