How a controversial film led to pickets outside a Leeds cinema

It was the controversial film which led to pickets outside a Leeds cinema.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 5:15 pm
PIC: West Yorkshire Archive Service
PIC: West Yorkshire Archive Service

These protestors are pictured outside the Plaza cinema on Upper Briggate in October 1963.

They were objecting to Mondo Cane, an Italian film billed as the 'seven deadly sins and the wonders of the world rolled into one.'

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Mondo Cane, meaning Doggish World, was known in the United States as Tales of the Bizarre: Rites, Rituals and Superstitions and was the first film in the 'shockumentary' genre.

It consisted of a series of travelogue scenes that provide glimpses into cultural practices around the world with the intention to shock or surprise audiences. The scenes were presented with little continuity, as they were intended as a kaleidoscopic display of shocking content rather than presenting a structured argument.

Despite the hostile critical reaction the film, nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 15th Cannes Film Festival, proved an international box-office success.

This photo is published courtesy of West Yorkshire Archive Service, which collects and looks after the unique documentary heritage of the region dating from the 12th century to the present day - more than 800 years of local history. It also runs Catablogue, an online blog dedicated to preserving the past, serving the present and protecting the future.


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