Saturday, September 14, 2013

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti, Pulpi Avati, Marquis de Sade

Composer: Ennio Morricone

Starring: Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti, Caterina Boratto, Elsa De Giorgi, Helene Surgere, Sonia Saviange, Sergio Fascetti, Bruno Musso

More info: IMDb

Plot: Set in the Nazi-controlled, northern Italian state of Salo in 1944, four dignitaries round up sixteen perfect specimens of youth and take them together with guards, servants and studs to a palace near Marzabotto. In addition, there are four middle-aged women: three of whom recount arousing stories whilst the fourth accompanies on the piano. The story is largely taken up with their recounting the stories of Dante and De Sade: the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. Following this, the youths are executed whilst each libertine takes his turn as voyeur.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

In the sense that it's sure to offend just about everyone, it's like an art house PINK FLAMINGOS (1972) but without the trailer trash, yelling and funny.  I had the pleasure of seeing this recently in a theater as the second half of a double bill with Pasolini's THE DECAMERON (1971).  Needless to say it was a remarkable experience.  This is a dark film that you know isn't going to be pretty in the first few minutes.  These four cats are some sick mother fuckers.  Even the opening selection scenes were indicative of what was to come and it just went down from there.  By the end of the picture you really felt like you've been through the S&M wringer.  There's all kinds of depravity from torture, shit (and how about that feast?), piss, sodomy (duh), rape (that's the least of their problems), the works.  This is one of the most fucked up, sick things I've seen (and I've seen a few) but it's not the most.  Close but no cigar.  I'm looking forward to tossing in my Criterion DVD and checking out the commentary.  Pasolini was murdered shortly after completing this and it'd be interesting to hear a lot more about the making of this picture and the meaning and reasons behind it.

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