Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

📅01 November 2011, 05:19

There are some rather sick things going on here.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Where to get it: Criterion

The Prologue
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom…Yeah, I think we’ve all at least heard of this one. As a matter of fact I’ve been trying to watch this thing for years, but it wasn’t that easy to get. One print of this by Criterion is out of print and easily worth a lot of the money, the basic one isn’t cheap due to the fact it is a Criterion release, and now we got the blu-ray of it on the way too. None the less, I finally got around to watching this and take my word on it, it’s rep is what it is for good reason. Even if it’s not one of the most gore filled films you’ve ever seem. per say. It without question is one of the weirdest and most disturbing things I’ve ever watched..And that covers a heck of a lot of ground.

The Movie
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.

If you have seen the fully uncut version of this film, you’ll notice it doesn’t get in that big of a hurry. Most of the first part of the film is spend as our sick group of gentlemen have kids rounded up for their little experiment they are planning. I’d go as far as to say that 3/4th of the beginning is rather boring. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some rather outrageous things going down, but they are all of the sexual nature. Both men and women are taking it up the ol’ poop-shoot, and other weird things happen all around as well. But it’s the second portion of the film where things take an even weirder and more disturbing turn.

That second part of the film is the ever so cleverly titled, “Circle of Shit”. And yes, it seems to be all about shit, in the literal sense of the term. After a woman tells a story about a man who had her feed him, the guys running this thing decide everyone should try it. So it starts with one guy forcing a girl to eat his, then evolves into everyone having to save theirs in buckets when they use the bathroom, and then the entire crew eats it for dinner. I don’t think you can get much more stomach churning than that, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff in films that can trigger a gag reflex. This may very well be one of the worst, as even I had to look away for a bit. Can you imagine what this would look like in full on HD? I shiver at the thought.

Then when you hit the last part of the film, “Circle of Blood”, that’s when you get your gore and torture. Private parts are messed with in a very violent way, people are raped, people are scalped, and so on and so forth as these people get their kicks by sitting around and watching it. So that’s your film resolution for the most part. The film overall is more about one bad thing after another than it seems to be about a real plot. I mean, yeah it has one, but it’s not that solid outside of just being a rather twisted time piece. So, I guess it would be best for me to just say it’s good for some shock value, but I don’t think there is that much else here for it to offer from a personal stand point. But maybe I’m just biased due to the fact I don’t like seeing people eat shit?

The Conclusion
Well clearly some people find this movie as very important for our time, or else it wouldn’t be a part of the Criterion Collection. I just think it’s best suited for showing if you want to shock or disgust someone. But that could just be me, maybe you like seeing this sorta thing more than me? It’s interesting, even if it doesn’t have the best overall plot in the world. But would I re-watch it? Well, perhaps not for a very long time.

The Rating (6.5/10)        

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