Friday, February 19, 2010
Thoughts on Salo
When I was a teenager in the early 90's this film was difficult to see. It was banned most everywhere or simply not available. Somehow my friends and I got a hold of some clips or maybe the whole film, I don't remember. What I do remember is that they were of the torture scenes and they disturbed me to the point that I stayed away from this movie... Until now. Now, not only do I not find it disturbing, I find it beautiful: An absolutely insightful and unaffected observation of depravity, perversion and the limits of power (there are none). There seems to be an intentional lack of close-ups and the exquisite framed wide angle takes are nothing short of astonishing.
The scene depicted on the cover of the DVD above is one of the most demented I have ever come across- it is truly outstanding in its emotional repugnance. It concerns a young girl grieving for her dead mother forced to eat the shit of the man responsible for her death.
For those not familiar, the story is about Fascists in 1940's Italy abducting, humiliating, abusing, and probably killing eighteen young men and women. It was the last film by Italian master Pier Pasolini- made in 1976, the year he was murdered by a young prostitute. There is some proof that the rent boy that killed him was paid by right wing groups wanting to silence his long standing leftist views. Nevertheless, Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom is a pinnacle in cinematic achievement and is widely considered one of the most important films ever created. As difficult as the subject matter may be for some, I think any intellectually sane adult will enjoy this film.