An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.
Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic,
In this film inspired by the ancient erotic and mysterious tales of Mid-West Asia, the main story concerns an innocent young man who comes to fall in love with a slave who selected him as ... See full summary »
Nazi-Fascist Northern Italy, 1943-44. Four senior members of government, aided by henchmen and Nazi soldiers, kidnap a group of young men and women. They hold them for 120 days, subjecting them to all manner of torture, perversion and degradation. Written by
Essential Bibliography: Roland Barthes: 'Sade, Fourier, Loyola' (Editions du Seuil); Maurice Blanchot: "Lautréamont et Sade' (Editions de Minuit; in Italy Dedalo Libri); Simone de Beauvoir: 'Faut-il brûler Sade' (Editions Gaimard); Pierre Klossowski: 'Sade mon prochain, le philosophe scélérat' (Editions du Seuil; in Italy SugarCo Edizioni); Philippe Sollers: 'L'écriture et l'experience des limites' (Editions du Seuil) See more »
So you say you've seen nearly-every major Italian-giallo? You've seen Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Michele Soavi, and even all the "classics" of Italian-film? Leone, Fellini, DeSicca, Bertolucci, Martino, and even most of the "world-classics"? By this point, you've probably seen-it-all, and you think there is no film that will shock you? If you haven't seen Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Salo", you are wrong. Pasolini didn't even live to see the film widely-released--he was murdered by a male-hustler (or so the official-story plays). Pier Pasolini was the most-important post-war intellectual in Italy, period. Like a Renaissance polymath, he was adept at journalism, the novel, poetry, screen writing, directing motion-pictures, and more. His revolutionary-philosophy was against fascism and communism, and he had many enemies in the political-arena, as well as the religious. All-said, however, it's likely that Pier Pasolini was murdered by a right-wing assassination-team under the aegis of "gladio", a NATO program of secret-armies through Western Europe. Gladio began, ostensibly, as a defense-against a hypothetical Soviet-invasion of Europe, but was used to attack legitimate Leftist political-parties and groups. The Red Brigade bombings in the 1970s were even instigated-by gladio-operatives to justify a law-and-order crackdown of the Italian Communist Party--it is a mystery as to how-much CIA-influence this all had. The P-2 conspiracy (oddly, involving the Vatican, the CIA, KGB, and renegade Freemasons!) had yet-to-break. There were dozens of politically-motivated killings in 1970s-Italy, and Pasolini's was one-of-many. One has to wonder how-much involvement the Vatican had in his murder, as well.
And so, "Salo" enters this bloody-fray. It could not be any more controversial on all-fronts, and is a shout-of-rage against how little we all care about human-life itself. Pasolini was outraged and disappointed with the human-condition, and Italian politics had become chaos--leading Sergio Leone to remark at the time that, "Italian politics have become ridiculous." The scenario of Salo is fairly-simple: a group of Italian-fascists retreat to a palace in Northern Italy (where there was a great-deal of support for Italian fascism and the Monarch) with a group of sixteen boys and girls. It is the short-lived Republic of Salo, hence the title that any Italian of the 1970s would recognize. For 120-days, they degrade them in almost every-imaginable-way. Gay-rape, buggery, forcing people to eat-excrement, and finally, death. Of course, it's all based-loosely on DeSade's tale and stays pretty-closely to the text's themes and scenarios. He "chapters" each section with some of the structure of Dante's "Inferno", which is genius. To say this film is merely a statement on fascism would be wrong, it is a manifesto on what cruelty rests within all human-hearts. Pasolini understood that, under the right-circumstances, we are all capable of these depredations. Some reviewers have stated they didn't find the film shocking--they should check-themselves into a clinic somewhere. I've noticed that even friends who are into such directors as Takashi Miike, respect the power of this film. Miike has some similarities-in-style with Pasolini, but goes for a more genre, stylized-look. Even John Waters lists this film as sicker than his worst-offenders! To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
Besides being pretty sick, this film looks pretty-good. The late Tonnino Colli's (who also worked-for Fellini and Leone) photography lends the film a look that could be hung in the Louvre, and it gives the film a greater subversive-edge. It should be noted that the film is not "legitimately-available" in the United State for copyright reasons. However, there are very-good copies out-there since it is not in-print. I found one that is an exact-duplicate of the original US-edition for a decent-price, so it is out there, with some searching. The Criterion edition is reportedly the most-expensive DVD in the world, going for as-much as $600.00 USD. Criterion's is the best-transfer we have to-date. I've got a few Ken Russell DVDs ("Salome's Last Dance")that are worth as-much as $300.00 USD, so this is a shocker! It's funny to see used DVDs of the big Hollywood-fare at $3.99 USD, while these are in-the-hundreds! It says-a-lot about what is lasting and meaningful to people, and it ain't blockbuster movies. A company called "Water Bearer" has sets of Pasolini's other works, but I have it on good-word that they are inferior-quality. It would be nice if Criterion did a Pasolini Box that included a newer-transfer of "Salo" with restoration. It is one of the most-important films ever made. We all stand-accused, even the filmmaker, and that's the point. Be warned: not for children or adults who fear soul-searing, raw-existentialism.
NOTE: The "ass-judging-scene" is similar to photos of the "flesh-pyramid" at Abu-Ghraib. http://chickasawpicklesmell.blogspot.com/
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