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In reply to the 'Should I watch Salo' posters
There's a long thread on the theme 'I was/was not disturbed by this film; it did/did not haunt my entire adulthood,' so let's have some _information_ on Salo:
Apart from its resetting in time and place, it's not dissimilar to the book (less extreme, though). There's not so much mathematics, so it unfolds less like an insanely detailed private fantasy which would never be read but for shock value, yet keeps, even increases, the distance between the viewer and the events. The sex, violence (minimal), movement, and laughing remind me of mime and other forms of silent, slow, exaggerated theatre. It isn't pornographic or passionate. There's little blood until the end. Every action is unreal, a simplified, animated diagram of sex or other movement.
It doesn't make an effort to be arousing; it shows the play of actions without any interpretation. It's like a BBC2 nature documentary, on people. This is what gives it it's air of bleakness (people on the boards have compared it to films such as _Schindler's List_); if you're sensitive to this sort of thing, and able to empathise with blank characters, it might disturb you.
There are a few 'realistic' parts -- two incidences of sex towards the end, and one of the girls pleads, naked, for mercy, help from God, and death, but I would like to emphasise the point that _the viewer does not get pulled into the characters' world_. You watch it and stay detached. Like the book, it's not so much an investigation of the effects of torture on the victims, as a simple catalogue of deviancies. It's interesting as a middle step between the modules of the fantasy listed on paper, and how it might play out in real life. It doesn't show the real life part.
It isn't always clear what class (victim, militiaman) a character falls into. The picture on the version I saw was very fuzzy; the film looked older than 31 years. There are long periods of silence between the piano accompaniment to the madam's stories, and the rest of the film's soundtrack, but the music there is complements the scene well, becoming almost uplifting at the end (very _Tea with Mussolini_). There's almost constant nudity, including male and female full-frontal, but it's no more sexualised than you'd see on a nudist beach. The only titillation is in the balance of power, and that's muted. Even the sense of despair is absent.
It's not as graphic as it's hyped to be. No teen who's read a porn story labelled 'BDSM real slavery' should have a problem. It's disturbing because it's told from the point of view of the libertines, which clashes with that of viewers. Other than that, there's crossdressing, coprophagia, and some mutilation. More interesting is the apathy of the victims; and there are some beautiful expressions on the faces of both victims and masters.
It's not a metaphor for anything, or a 'necessary evil to be made.' There doesn't have to be a justification for the existence of everything slightly out of the mainstream. Watch it if you want to. You probably won't find it fun to watch, and I don't think it will teach you anything. If you do watch, stick it out till the end.