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Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom

Paolo Bonacelli , Laura Betti , Amaury Voslion , Pier Paolo Pasolini    Unrated   DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable but Still Worth Watching July 5 2007
Format:DVD
This is a version of the Marquis de Sade's story, The 120 Days of Sodom, a story about four powerful men who enslave two dozen teenagers and torture them repeatedly. Unlike the book the film is set in the Salò Republic, the Nazi puppet state in northern Italy, in the year 1944. Pier Paolo Pasolini directs his final film. The four powerful men in the story are referred to as the Duke, the Magistrate, the President and the Bishop. To kick things off they marry each other's daughters and then begin to have young males and females kidnapped (18 in all, 9 of each gender). They also have four older prostitutes join in and this whole multitude marches over to some palace. Mind you, the time period means that the Nazi occupied Salò Republic is on its last legs and on the cusp of being crippled by the Allied forces. So the setting gives us sort of an end of days feeling right from the get-go. The content and commentary certainly continue with that subject matter throughout.

The film is set up in four stages, the first being the ante-inferno, which refers to those who are not quite condemned to hell but also not allowed into heaven either. The film's setting is meant to feel like a brief moment in purgatory with its isolated party of characters doing unspeakable things before judgment, and then it all must end. The second stage is the circle of manias, or obsession, where we see the sexual humiliation of the film manifest itself further. The third stage is the circle of excrement, which is where we see the characters consume feces. Pasolini has used this as a metaphor broadly for the perverse level of consumption depicted in the film overall, and directly as a commentary on mass-produced foods and consumerism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A DVD zone THINKING ILSA Jan. 14 2004
Format:DVD
I remember that the theatrical release of Pasolini's SALO was quite a test for our European democracies. For example, here in Switzerland, we had to go to France if we wanted to see it. Nearly 30 years later, SALO is available at your local drugstore. Times change.
There aren't any extras on the Criterion DVD in my possession, apart of a written essay delivered in the case. The colours are sad and, unfortunately, SALO being extremely verbose, the subtitles most of the time hide a great part of the action on the screen.
Now for the movie itself. Everybody has understood that SALO is an allegory about fascism using the disguise of an illustration of the Marquis de Sade novel. That's all. So why all the fuss about this movie ? Simply because it was the first time that a reknown director explicitly showed on screen sexual perversions implying scatology and torture. Now if this film has stopped in any way the rise of the fascism in the world, I let you find the answer by yourselves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a truly disturbing film....... June 13 2003
Format:DVD
I am into subject matter of this kind and I never heard of this film until I found out about it on the internet. When I finally watched it, I realized that it is not that bad. This is a abstract piece of art that I found to be visually interesting. The director certainly did have the guts to release this to the public and most likely got killed because of it(the director was killed after the release of this film). The plot is that four men of power in 1944 fascist Italy kidnap a group of boys and girls and expose them to a lifestyle that involves sadism and control. They had no freedoms and no say in what they were forced to do. One segment had the group being forced to eat human excrement as part of a sexual experience that was explained to them. In the end, anyone who was rebellious or disobedient in any way were punished by torture and death. This film shows how much power religious and political leaders have. They did it for their own amusement and satisfaction. The torture scenes are not for the weak-stomached. They are pretty graphic, although I think they could have been alot worse than it was. DO NOT BUY THIS IF YOU GET OFFENDED EASILY!!!! You will not make it through the first half of the film because not only are there torture scenes; there are also scenes of homosexuality and sex fetishes. I recommend this film to anyone who likes films with artistic integrity and a political message, which is that fascism is wrong and that moral redemption is nothing but a myth. People have to realize that stuff like this does and has happened before. Whether it happens in prisons or in a torture chamber, people are exposed to this in real life. This film shows it in an extreme way. 4 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterwork! May 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
First of all, this movie is a great adaptation of Sade's book. In " 120 days of sodom" the sadist nobles were taking their power by their money. In the movie, the source of the power comes from the political authority in the fascist era of Italy.
It's a powerful expression of disgust for the modern times. And shows us Passolini's infernal vision to the eternal darkness of humanity.
It's hard to watch and stand the torture scenes. But the film itself is not disgusting at all! There is a wonderful esthetic during the movie, even in the torture scenes. (Like the enchanting chorus "Veris Leta Facies" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana which was playing during the most terrfying tortures)
Probably it's Passolini's masterpiece... And a must see for the cinema specialists...
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars disgusting, I ended up throwing it out
Pretentious, sadistic, horrid, disgusting, I ended up throwing it out. Passolini at his most twisted.
Published 2 months ago by Robert C. Mercier
3.0 out of 5 stars For me, this was not worth more than one ...
For me, this was not worth more than one viewing. I was curious about the controversy and merit of this film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by nobody
3.0 out of 5 stars You need to be at least -40- to view this film!
I finally sat down and watched this whole thing in one sitting (I've seen bits of it before). I guess it's kind of a documentary. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Len the Sound Guy
1.0 out of 5 stars What a bore
I bought this DVD out of interest and found the film quite boring, no point in watching it, bunch of perverted people aimlessly enjoying humilating others, doesn't deserve the... Read more
Published on July 26 2009 by Richard T. Daoud
5.0 out of 5 stars Power Corrupts
Visually, a triumph of cinematic art. Morally. a greater triumph still, as it shows the depths to which humans are capable of sinking under certain circumstances. Power corrupts. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2008 by J. Komar
1.0 out of 5 stars destroy all copies
This is the most twisted, worthless movie of all time. All copies of it should be destroyed. Do not waste your money on it. Amazon should remove it as a item for sale.
Published on Oct. 3 2008 by moth
1.0 out of 5 stars if you like true snuff films
This is a real life snuff film. If you watch it you're just as disgusting as the maker.
Published on June 6 2005
3.0 out of 5 stars Let the madness end...
The conspiracy theories, the bootlegs, the ceremonial passing around of 'sealed' copies (gonna watch it, son?) on eBay for obscene amounts of money... Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by S. Lu
5.0 out of 5 stars Aristotle
I'm giving this movie the highest rating because it made me understand the definition of the word CAPTHARSIS (the process of releasing strong emotions-pity and fear-through a... Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Amal
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie - plus how to find the dvd cheap
Salo is an interesting movie if you watch it for what it is. If you're into disturbing movies you'll find that this isn't incredible disturbing, if not then be prepared to see... Read more
Published on June 9 2004
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