Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental, and sexual torture.In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental, and sexual torture.In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental, and sexual torture.
One of the roughest films you'll ever see.
"Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom" (1975): Be prepared for one of the roughest films you'll ever see. This was Pasolini's last, and going by what I've seen, his vision only became bleaker and more disturbed as the years clawed along. Using the Marquis de Sade's ideas on the decadence of 18th century France, Pasolini represents Fascist Italy (1944-45). We are shown the upper class always removed and protected from the outer world as predators of the poor, weak, young, and less educated. A group of wealthy adults shop amongst the kidnapped older children of bourgeoisie. They choose eighteen, and steal them away to a hidden mansion, where there is no escape. There, the adults live out every twisted fantasy they've ever had or can now muster, while demeaning, raping, and torturing the youngsters. The teens react in many ways, none of which are "pretty". This entire film experience MUST be viewed as a symbolic, emotional "explanation" of what it was like to live under Nazi/Fascist rule (in this case), and how an otherwise normal, decent society could be turned into lunatics and sub-animals. Although made 30 years ago (with the usual weaker production qualities of that era), I cannot think of another work which so blatantly and painfully illustrates what those in power are capable of doing when boredom gives rein to impulse. In comparison, "Lord of the Flies" barely lights upon these issues, "Pink Flamingos" was but a tiny, kitschy springboard, and "Schindler's List" described a much narrower range of degradation. To this day, "Salo: " is banned in some countries. This is NOT a film about acting, lighting, sound, camera work, etc.. This is a film about states of mind theirs then, ours now. P.S.: If you are interested in set design, this one is FILLED with original Cubist/Bauhaus/Futurist/Moderne furnishings, murals, and art. Spectacular. Those styles were not yet being reproduced, so Pasolini used the real thing. There is also an interesting use of a Charles Rennie MacIntosh chair which will alter how you see this design from here on out.
- Jun 6, 2005
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