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Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, War | 19 May 1976 (France)
In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... The Duke
... The Bishop
... The Magistrate (as Umberto P. Quintavalle)
Aldo Valletti ... The President
... Signora Castelli
... Signora Maggi
... Signora Vaccari (as Helene Surgere)
... The Pianist
Sergio Fascetti ... Male Victim
Bruno Musso ... Carlo Porro - Male Victim
Antonio Orlando ... Tonino - Male Victim
Claudio Cicchetti ... Male Victim
... Male Victim
Umberto Chessari ... Male Victim
Lamberto Book ... Lamberto Gobbi - Male Victim
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Storyline

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 grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Banned in Australia for 17 years - Now for the first time Australian audiences have the opportunity to judge one of the most controversial films in the history of cinema. A work of rigorous moral intelligence or a descent into a nightmare of cruelty and lust? (1993) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

19 May 1976 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1994, an undercover police officer in Cincinnati, Ohio, rented the film from a local gay bookstore, then later arrested the owners for "pandering". A large group of scholars and artists, including Martin Scorsese and Alec Baldwin, signed a legal brief arguing the film's artistic merit. The court dismissed the case because the police violated the owners' Fourth Amendment rights, without addressing the question of whether the film was obscene. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the film a 1948 Fiat 500 B can be seen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[four men, sitting at a table, each sign a booklet]
The Duke: Your Excellency.
The Magistrate: Mr. President.
The President: My lord.
The Bishop: All's good if it's excessive.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in La macchinazione (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Carmina Burana - III. Veris Laeta Facies
Written by Carl Orff
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the most gruelling films ever made
17 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Pier Paolo Pasolini, as is well known, was murdered not long after he finished work on this, his most audacious and confrontational film, yet even the most casual viewing of SALO begs the question - had he not been murdered, would he have taken his own life anyway? Every sequence, every shot and practically every moment of this film is so burdened with despair, barely concealed rage and a towering disgust with the human race, one gets the impression that Pasolini was barely hanging onto life - and any attendant shreds of hope - by his fingernails. Although ostensibly an adaptation of one of DeSade's most depraved works channeled through the horrifying excesses of the Second World War with the Fascist ruling classes as its (authentically vile) villains, SALO also contains a lot of contemporary criticism - Pasolini hated the modern world, and explained the stomach-churning 'banquet of s**t' as a none-too-subtle attack on the encroaching global domination of the fast food chains. (The scenes of sexual excess can similarly be read as a despairing attack on the permissive society - those who come to SALO expecting titillation or B-movie sleaze will be sorely disappointed.) Beyond the nihilistic content, which has been well documented elsewhere, the film has an overall mood that seems to have been engineered to make the viewer thoroughly depressed. Shot on washed-out, faded film stock using primarily static cameras, long shots, choppy editing and very few cutaways, SALO has a visual style reminiscent of cinema-verite documentary. Add to this the unnerving use of big band music, piano dirges and the (intentionally?) scrappy post-dubbed dialogue, and the distancing effect on the viewer is complete. SALO comes across as one long primal scream of rage, designed to shake the viewer out of his complacency, and in this respect, the film succeeds unequivocally. Whether or not you would care to watch this more than once, or indeed for 'entertainment', is another matter, but SALO is an important film that demands a careful viewing ONLY by those prepared for it.


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