1975 *** 116 mins.
If you thought Caligula was shocking, then you haven't seen Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Upon my first viewing of the film, I couldn't see any sort of artistry in it. Nine boys and nine girls are rounded up to go to a house where they are forced to do some of the most disgusting and degrading things ever commited to film. Norman sexual relationships are forbidden, and the ass is glorified as the most perfect part of the human body. And, yes, all you've heard is true about characters literally eating human feces. It's easy to see why this film is dismissed by many as purely pornographic in the worst sense and not worth laying eyes upon. However, after watching it a second time (watching the beautifully restored 2008 Criterion DVD), I was able to look past the horrors that are presented and see the thought, effort, and passion put into the project by director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Reading some of the essays in the DVD booklet and watching the documentaries also helped me see the meanings behind the images. On one level, the film is an indictment of Fascism; while on another level, it is Pasolini's own retort of his previous works which glorified sexuality. Worth at least one viewing for those who have strong stomachs. Definitely something to ponder over.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Not Rated; not suitable for young audiences or those with weak stomachs.
Inspired by "The 120 Days of Sodom" by
Marquis De Sade
Written and Directed by
Pier Paolo Pasolini