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Thorsen, Jens Jørgen
Quiet days in Clichy. [Censorship dossier for Situationist film].
Germany: Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft, 1970.


#17320. Dossier issuing from the German film censorship board, consisting of three parts: (1) a promotional booklet for the Copenhagen-produced film Quiet days in Clichy, with fully-illustrated b&w wrappers (29 cm.); some creasing. Contents of [8] pages, with text in both English and French; well-illustrated after b&w film-stills and behind-the-scenes photos. Interleaved: a bright pink broadside, featuring quote from Jörgen Nash. Accompanied by (2) a group of 24 loose stills from the film; b&w silver gelatin prints (18 x 24 cm., or the reverse), with some curling, numbered in pencil to versos. Preserved in archival folder. And (3) a group of correspondence, consisting of three letters (in German) from July to December 1970, documenting the film's "moral audit" by the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft; the first being an original typescript on onion-skin paper (2 pp.), the other two being photocopies (2 and 5 pp.), with the latter on letterhead of the jurist Horst von Hartlieb.



In 1970, the Danish provocateur, and sometimes-Situationist, Jens Jørgen Thorsen released his cinematic adaptation of Henry Miller’s bohemian fantasy Quiet days in Clichy, first published by the Olympia Press in 1956. The resulting scandal would inspire Jörgen Nash to annoint Thorsen's adaptation as “a film that will revolutionize sex in cinema.” As advertised, the film was subject to cinema bans in both France and the United Kingdom.

In Germany, however, post-War film censorship had developed in a far more permissive direction, with the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK). Here, we have a dossier that documents the FSK's review of Thorsen's film, with an initial list of nine scenes identified for censorship, as well as 11 instances of dialogue deemed offensive. (Loosely translated, one such instance reads: “The first scene between the Surrealist, Joey, and Carl has to be shortened considerably. In any case, what must be removed is Joey’s groping between the thighs of the woman bent forward and the close-up of the male buttocks showing the sexual member. Furthermore, the moan is to be withdrawn”). In response, the Wiesbaden-based jurist Horst von Hartlieb (who had earlier been involved in the FSK’s development) mounts a partially-successful appeal on behalf of the film’s German distributor, on the grounds of Thorsen’s artistic license.




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500 USD

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