The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker transposes the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Italy in 1944 where four corrupted fascist libertines round up nine teenagers and subject them to 120 days of sadistic physical, mental and sexual torture.
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A prescient synthesis that speaks of a wicked control system that doesn’t disappear. Perhaps now we’re in a more advanced manifestation of the totalitarian consumerism indicted and, if not soothsayer, Pasolini knew it’s ceaseless march could only metaphorically continue this way. Salo reveals a horrid truth about the collusion of power and the commodification of those subject to the regime: in other words most of us.
All throughout is this undercurrent of looming impotence; these half-flaccid old men in their world of dilapidated opulence, so clearly desperate - despite their apparent power - for a way to keep it up... The dynamic isn't unfamiliar. For us so sure we'd never collaborate: Don't we, though? And aren't we sadist, and victim? Truths as distasteful as what's on the screen. Bonus: Watching fascists eat (literal) shit.
In the case of Salo, I think it's enough to watch 15-30 minutes of it to get the point. It's more about the concept than actually having to witness it all. Watching the whole thing make you complicit in what's going on. There is no great underlying message in this. I suppose the only redeeming factor would be that everyone enjoyed making it.
The sets, wardrobe and cinematography are very good. That being said the whole movie is a giant "wtf?" moment. I get the ironic tone of it and the social criticism, but it's just disgusting and pointless. I don't consider myself a prude, sensible or conservative person, specially when it comes to movies, but I can't see the value of this. It all seems done for the sake of shock-value.
Salo is the craziest film I've seen since I saw Sweet Movie two years ago. Considering how desensitized I've become, it was almost refreshing to be as shocked, disgusted, and horrified as I was by this film. Brilliant re-purposing of a Sadistic tale to satirize Fascist Italy. Not for the feint of heart.
The greatest portrayal of the perversions of fascists on film, this makes THE NIGHT PORTER look like THE WAY WE WERE. Beauty amongst the ugly:that big main dining room is gorgeous as are the placing of the actors in the setting. The fascists' justifications are as vulgar as their deeds. This film is an examination of evil not an evil film...well it may be a little evil.
What a sick person to make such a sick film. Grown up aesthetic cinema. If you enjoy this movie, you know you reached some kind of maturity - visual or mental. And you also know you've just got darker.
Not quite as disturbing as I thought it was going to be (apart from the end), I guess because I didn't quite feel an emotional connect to most the characters. That being said, it's probably the grossest film I've ever seen and at that a great film just for its audacity alone. I can't quite say I enjoyed watching it, but I highly respect it as a magnificent and intelligent work of art. So ugly it's almost beautiful.