Salò: Shocking, Disturbing & Part of the Criterion Collection
Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 01:44 k
Filed under: Film | Tags: , , ,

I cant believe i missed this one, but on Aug 26th Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious final film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom was finally released to DVD and given the Criterion Collection treatment. The film constantly ranks #1 on most top ten lists as one of the most shocking and disturbing films ever made. It’s been called “nauseating,” “shocking,” “depraved,” “pornographic” and also a masterpiece.

I can agree with all the previously mentioned above labels, as i pulled out my bootleg copy and watched it last night. I had a bootleg copy because it was previously unavailble in the US and has been banned in several countries. The film was previously released by Criterion in the US, but was quickly recalled because of licensing issues with the director’s estate–now that version has been dubbed “The Rarest DVD in the world”.

The film is based upon the book the 120 days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade but is also believed to be based upon Pasolini’s own time spent in the Republic of Salò, where he witnessed many cruelties as part of the Fascist forces of the Salò Republic. Fittingly, film features scenes of intensely graphic violence, rape ,torture and humiliation.

From Wikepedia:

Salò (the film’s common abbreviation) occurs in the Republic of Salò, the Fascist rump state established in the Nazi-occupied portion of Italy in 1944. The story is in four segments loosely parallel to Dante’s Inferno: the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Feces, and the Circle of Blood.

Four men of power, the Duke (Duc de Blangis), the Bishop, the Magistrate (Curval), and the President agree to marry each others daughters as the first step in a debauched ritual. With the aid of several collaborator young men, they kidnap eighteen young men and women (nine of each sex), and take them to a palace near Marzabotto. Accompanying them are four middle-aged prostitutes, also collaborators, whose function in the debauchery will be to recount erotically arousing stories for the men of power, and who, in turn, will sadistically exploit their victims.

The story depicts the many days at the palace, during which the four men of power devise increasingly abhorrent tortures and humiliations for their own pleasure. A most infamous scene, shows a young woman forced to eat the feces of the Duke; later, the other victims are presented a giant meal of human feces. At story’s end, the victims who chose to not collaborate with their fascist tormentors are gruesomely murdered: scalping, branding, tongue and eyes cut out. The viewer is distanced from the grossest tortures, because they are viewed through binoculars. The story’s final scene — two young, macho soldiers dancing a waltz, together — embodies Pasolini’s vision of life and death: unflinching, dispassionate, yet, humane and (paradoxically) impassioned.

Some stills from the film as well as the trailer after the cut. NOTE: Even though the trailer is censored, it is still highly disturbing and NSFW!


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