Measuring censorship?: determining the level of “censoredness” of films subtitled during the dictatorship in Portugal

Katrin Pieper


During the Portuguese Estado Novo (1933-1974), many films were banned and others mutilated by the cutting of scenes and suppression and manipulation of subtitles. What reached the audience, in many cases, was a cleansed version of the original. A quick look into censorship documents shows how many cuts a film might have suffered. Suppressed subtitles are also relatively easy to detect. Yet, to get a complete picture, one has to take a deeper look at the subtitles, comparing them with the original spoken dialogues to detect ideological manipulations on the linguistic level. But how can one tell if a film was heavily or slightly censored? Is “censoredness” comparable? This article sets out to find an answer to the question of whether these measures are objectively describable and structurable, and if so, how the level of “censoredness” of subtitled films can be determined, with a view to allowing a larger-scale comparison of films.

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 ISSN 2184-4585