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18 December 2011

Salò Or, 120 Days of Sodom (1975) [70's Marathon] 10#

Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Genre: Drama, Art House
Country: Italy, France
Runtime: 119 Minutes
*This post contains nudity* There are films that we enjoy for being entertaining, having characters and stories that we relate to and stay with us. We like some films on an artistic level for being ingenious and/or poetic in some way. “Salò” is more on the artsy side, but in a different way. The film is undeniably disgusting for it's portrayal of violence and sex, and I wouldn’t suggest watching it if you are easily turned by such things. Pier Paolo Pasolini, the director has been judged greatly for his work here and this was his last vision. 

Four fascist libertines round up 9 teenaged boys and girls and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental and sexual torture. This is presented through four parts of the film.

Let me begin with listing a few of the things this film has to behold: Sexual torture, human humiliation, bisexualism, homosexualism, sadism, paedophilia and even humans eating excrement. That is just ones I can name at the moment, but there is more than that. One scene features one of the girls being forced to eat one of the fascist’s excrement, which he produces right in front of her before he forces her to eat it. There is a lot more where that came from in the films ‘circle of shit’ part of the film.

I think the thing that most people are disgusted by is the whole fact that these defenceless young teenagers are being sexually, mentally and physically tortured. The thought is horrific and definitely something to turn your head at. With that in mind, the cruelty and inhumanity of the film is what makes it great. The director Pier Pasolini explores to places that most filmmakers do not dare to go never mind doing something quite grotesque. This was his last vision and not long after the release of this film, a hoodlum killed him. The hoodlum apparently ran Pasolini over by his own car repeatedly. Some people say otherwise, but who knows. 

The thing that the film shows is the insanity and cruel power that the Nazis had during this time period, doing as they please. Even Friedrich Nietzsche is mentioned in the film, an ideologist who had the idea of the superman and concepts of morals. I am no expert on this man, but I know that Adolph Hitler was inspired by his literary work. The film’s disgusting idea is that four fascists who seem to have great power, do as they want to pleasure themselves in their sexual fantasies of things that today’s audiences will definitely consider disgusting. Is there really pleasure in eating another humans faeces? The fascists seem to take great pleasure in eating excrement and this is one of the most disgusting themes of the film.

The film may not have true characterisation so really if there is any pity or sympathy, it has come down to humanity. The kind of humanity were it does not matter if you have connected with a character, were you begin to care about happens to them. That is one of the powerful things about the film. It reels you in to its disturbing story and makes you revolted by the fascists torturing these innocent teenagers. 

That is the main thing the film does, it makes you feel, which is what makes it a good film. How can you not feel a bit of sympathy or feel shocked when seeing a large group of teenaged boys and girls being treated like dogs? The four disgusting fascists are easily the most hated characters in the film and unfortunately, the film’s ending does not give you hope that their sick fantasies will come end. They are despicable as human beings and this partly shows the corruption of the Nazis. It is unlikely anything like this happened in During during the time, but it is just an idea: A vision.
This film has been banned in many countries because of all its sexual torture, rape and murder, and some of which feature people under 18. The British Board of Film Censors rejected “Salò” in January 1976. It was first screened at the Old Compton Street cinema club in Soho, London in 1977, in an uncut form without certification under advice from BBFC secretary James Ferman; the Metropolitan Police raided the premises after a few days. To this day, it is still banned in some places, but was released on blu-ray in 2010 with an extended runtime. It is among the most controversial films of all time. 

It is probably weird to some that I appreciate this film but it is because of the lengths the film has went to to depict the hatred towards fascism and the evil within it. The film also shows political corruption which makes this film such an excellent execution of the thoughts on politics and fascism.

Throughout the whole film, there are surprises everywhere, with weirder and sicker things happening. One scene has one of the fascists kissing everyone in the room, and this is when the room is filled with about 20 people. We are now over 35 years past the release date of this film and still today moviegoers are discovering this film and either despising it, or praising it. I praise it yes, but I will not deny the sadistic disgust of it. The film has great direction and unfolds neatly, making it a film to see if you have the stomach for it. Not to say that is is brilliant, because it is a sickening sight and of course it is easy to get a response like this by what they do. There is simply nothing quite like it and it is still one of the hardest-to-watch films you will find. This is one Italian film that is unforgettable in the strangest way possible that will stay with you long after watching. 

My Rating: 6.5/10


8 comments:

  1. great review, Tom. I do not think I could subject myself to actually viewing this film, maybe one day but not a day soon

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've seen this. There is not one reason to ever suggest anyone else should ever watch it. While I have seen movies that I would never watch again (i.e. Grave of the Fireflies because of how depressing it is), I can at least acknowledge that they are well made and the fact that they generated such a strong response in me means that they were effectively made.

    When it comes to Salo, there is nothing about showing people eating excrement that requires filmmaking skills to generate a strong response. It is not remotely "artistic". The only reason this film has anyone watching it is to see how shocking it is, not how well made it is or how entertaining it is. And when that is the only reason to see a movie, that means it is not very good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can see were your coming form and that is actually an excellent point. The film definitely creates a response and maybe it is easily shocking, but there is still something grotesquely great about it. Not saying that I find it arousing, but it is so gross, it is good. But just being sick does not make it good. I mean, look at the human centipede films. "Salo" has more of a point, a last vision of a film maker and a film showing the corruption of Nazis. Your point has swayed my opinion a bit and I may lower the rating, because your definitely right to an extent. Thanks for reading and your excellent feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've always felt like this is a movie I have to watch at some point. This one and Cannibal Holocaust. I'm not sure why, lol.

    I barely made it through 2 girls, 1 cup, so I don't know if I'll be able to actually watch while someone is eating shit, but I'll give it the ol' college try.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've heard about this film on and off, guess I better check it out...

    ReplyDelete
  6. A very good film to hate. Probably the most well crafted example of exploitation cinema ever made, but at the same time one of the most revolting and least entertaining. Still I would choose a film like this over a Tom Hanks romantic comedy every time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great review, it is great to find someone else who can appreciate this film and its intentions. A sickening film with a commendable purpose - to completely condemn fascism and the evil within it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't really see myself enjoying a movie like this. I sat through Antichrist and appreciated it, but it sounded like it had more of a point than this. This... just sounds like poo-eating. Good review, but I doubt i will rush off to see this any time soon.

    ReplyDelete

 

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