Maybe I was too distracted by the horrible things on the screen, or maybe I don’t know enough about the context, but I do not see any type of metaphor or any point to this film. Could somebody please explain what the metaphor is or what point he was trying to make? Thanks!
what movie are we talking about exactly?
My guess is it involved Eddie Murphy.
Maybe ‘The Auteurs’ forum has some glitch? Cause this is the second time I’ve seen a new thread talking about a movie and no one knows what the hell is going on. Or are people getting confused and posting replies as new topics?
There’s a mystery to solve on our beloved site.
I love this shit. Keep it up.
Hey Nate, we have no idea in which film you are inquiring.
My guess is Salo. What do I win?
You know the little thing when you start a new thread and it lets you select a movie? Nate probably selected one and thought we would be able to see what he selected, and whatever movie he picked is what he’s talking about.
Garfield is my guess.
It’s a trick question, there’s nothing great about this movie what-so-ever.
Sweet Movie? That’d be sweet.
Tom wins! Sorry about that, I was referring to Salo though…
The ending, with the binoculars, is essentially the point of the movie. Sort of a “why the hell did you watch this?” It’s like Passolini is indicting the viewer along with the Nazis for just watching all the horrible things happen and not doing anything about it.
I think it’s a problem with the site. I started a topic on The Will Be Blood with the title of “Ageing Son vs. Non-Ageing Paul Dano”, not realising that there would not be some sort of link in the forums.
I showed this film to a friend, she had her eyes closed for most of the film. It’s defiantly not a film for everyone, it’s my favorite Pasolini film. I’ve seen it many times, and I only first watched the film because it was based on de Sade’s novel(he is my favorite author and someone I admire greatly)Salo was actually the film that introduced me to Pasolini’s work, and he has become a favorite filmmaker of mine.
I tend to prefer that other favorite author of Pasolini’s: Saint Matthew.
I think Pasolini wanted to show us how evil spreads. One of the ways is apathy, another is vanity, the list goes on: sexual perversion, cruelty, wealth and excess, tradition.
He wanted to challenge the way we see things in society. How the “privileged” ones choose and anoint the next generation (usually using physical beauty as the criteria) and how the former passes on the cruel customs and torturous ideas of the past onto the latter.
The eating of feces/nails and cutting off the tongue are important metaphoric actions (as well as horribly graphic scenes).
The structure of the film is also important; the symmetrical framing, the music and “classy” setting.
I recommend watching it again (as difficult as that may be). A fitting last film from one of the greatest directors.
pointlessly mean comment detracted.
Sorry to be annoying, and maybe I just should watch it again, but would you mind explaining how the eating poop and cutting off the tongue are metaphors? As far as the indictment in the last scene, I can see that, especially with the one guy looking through the binoculars backwards to distance himself from it (like we do when watching movies), but that really doesn’t justify the whole movie. If that’s the whole point, then it seems like it was just kind of tacked on, and Haneke’s Funny Games made that point a lot better (but maybe Salo was an influence).
It’s an intriguing and extreme metaphor for fascism making it more compelling than other cinematic metaphors?
Salò was based on a book by Marquis de Sade. It was called Les 120 journées de Sodome ou l’école du libertinage, or more commonly, 120 days of Sodom. Its an important text chronicling all the sexual perversions known to man, up to that point in history. People say its moral pornography etc, but looking at the life of the writer, he was jailed constantly for his devious tastes in sex. (and he had a wife who protected and helped him with them and she remained loyal and never cheated on him) It is in fact a document on humanities darkness and perversion. If I was a teacher, I would get my senior class to read Lord of the Flies, watched the movie (to see one of the themes, humanity’s corruptibility when there is no consequences) and then to see this to hammer the point in. Here is the main theme (not written by me, explained by the author)
> De Sade’s main thesis, in his works, was that cruelty and sexual perversity are fundamental human traits and a natural part of human behavior. De Sade’s viewpoint represents the ultimate in moral relativism. “There is nothing either fundamentally good, nor anything fundamentally evil;” he writes. “Everything is relative, relative to our point of view.” De Sade lent his name to the word “sadism,” which means “deriving morbid enjoyment (and especially sexual pleasure) from inflicting physical pain and humiliation.”
So looking at Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler, what evil is is all based on your moral perspective. Salò is an important film, because it reminds us of humanity and how it can make things seem normal, if you don’t have a moral standard (Religion for example) It is a difficult film to watch, but an extremely important one. And people who see it for the shock value are seeing it for the wrong reasons.
Now I know the chances of someone reading this and replying to are slim, but it is important to have this movie’s purpose, theme and relevance dissected. As with Schindlers List, this movie is something everyone should see to remind us, of the beast lurking in humanity.
I couldn’t finish it as soon as it got to the circle of shit I pieced out. Which really just comments to the power of Pasolini’s filmmaking but I will never try to watch it again it’s just not my type of film and I don’t think I’ll ever get it it’s too violent and sadistic.
Oh and in relation to Hitler, Stalin and like there was an also heavy ant-Fascist theme.
I see all your points, and thanks for responding, but it seems like Passolini is just putting nasty stuff on screen but not really making any metaphors. I really regret not liking this film, but I also regret watching it. I guess it’s just too disturbing for me and I don’t know how I managed to watch the whole thing. Thank you for responding and not getting impatient!
To understand Salo you have to remember the enormous freedom which artists enjoyed in the 1960s and 1970s, and which really does not exist anymore for artists (or for anyone, for the most part). This was a world in which transgression, whether through sex or drugs, was very prevalent, and many of the radical and sensitive artists of the time — yes, it’s possible to be a sensitive radical — created films that showed transgressive behavior while at the same time being critical of it, warning of too much excess. Other such films are Fassbinder’s Shadow of Angels and In a Year with 13 Moons, and Jarman’s Jubilee — films which are inexorably drawn toward death even as they recoil from it in horror. Salo is like the shocking moment in Shadow of Angels where Ingrid breaks the kitten’s neck. That’s a metaphor for her despair and her unwillingness to live any longer, but what director would dare show something like that today? What actress would agree to do it? In those days, art was seen as having the right to be superior to life, the stakes were high, the serious artists knew this was dangerous and uncharted territory. Today, even what is most mundane in life is held in much higher esteem than any art, and this is why we have such crappy art today.
I think a lot of the meaning of the film lies in Marquis De Sade’s intentions in his original work as David K outlined in his comment. The inclusion of the Republic of Salo, however, is Pasolini’s own personal comment on Fascism. Running through the film is a metaphor for the effects of Fascism on society.
In respect to the consensus of opinions, I agree that the mixture of Sade and fascism is intrinsic to the film, but it covers up deeper psychic terrain. I think Salo is a more complicated experience. The opening scenes where the young people are rounded up for review are deliberately made to resemble actors’ casting calls. And of course, Pasolini was known for putting good looking street hoodlums in his films. Also, what are we to make of the scenes where the Presidente (the bearded guy?) is fondling and kissing the young people with an actual expression of, dare I say it, love? There’s another moment where one of the boys seems to respond to a kiss with a loving look. I believe that Pasolini was critiquing the permissiveness of the 70s, a permissiveness which the hedonistic side of him reveled in even as the intellectual in him saw it as excessive. The final scene of the two boys dancing is a kind of prophecy that in the future tenderness may be possible, sexual identity may not matter anymore, everyone may well become bisexual, but that for Pasolini’s generation — mired in a history of shame and guilt — desire was a traumatic and terrifying thing.
In case it hasn’t been mentioned, I thought it would be interesting to note that in Sight & Sound’s latest (2002) international poll, SALO was chosen among the 10 greatest films of all time by 3 people: 1 critic (Joel David) and 2 directors (Catherine Breillat and Michael Haneke). Very interesting to see what kind of directors SALO attracts haha. I’m an admirer of both Breillat and Haneke’s work, but they can certainly be provocative (or “perverse” as some might mistakenly label it). This tendency to provoke (SALO being another example) is understandibly dissapproved of because audiences generally want to escape or be reassured (ie remain complacent in their thinking and lifestyle). And whenever someone has the nerve to demand more of viewers, they react with confusion or anger, both resulting in dismissal. Instead of being provoked to think and investigate, unknowing viewers shut their brains down and let anger blind them. I wonder if anything in SALO is any more “perverse” or “disgusting” than the shower scene in the highly-praised (though not by me) SCHINDLER’S LIST? Now THERE’S an overrated film.
After writing this I quickly scanned the previous comments and discovered they’re mostly positive (defending Salo). Sorry for preaching to the converted.
“The ending, with the binoculars, is essentially the point of the movie. Sort of a “why the hell did you watch this?” It’s like Passolini is indicting the viewer along with the Nazis for just watching all the horrible things happen and not doing anything about it.”
Haneke himself has suggested a similar “point” or “purpose” (one which I understand but don’t agree with) with regards to his film(s) FUNNY GAMES. He said something along these lines: “If you leave during the film then you don’t need the film, but if you stay until the end, you need the film.”
Two years ago I saw “Sweet Movie” and decided it was the most grotesque, over the top, surreal film I had ever seen. Then I saw Salo, and fell in love with it. Literally every person I have viewed it with (except one open-minded Cinephile) thought it to be simply vile and unworthy of public spectacle. Why? after all it is just a movie, moving art. Ok, ok, all shit eating and eye gouging aside, Pasolini masterfully depicts an allagorical portrait of post-fascist Italy through still shots worthy to be hung in The Metropolitan. Once opponents of this masterpiece see beyond the sadomizing surface and focus on it’s central message (see the last shot of the guards dancing), Salo will be celebrated as innovative and beautiful. In my opinion any Michael Bay film is FAR more offensive than Salo.