By Gary Indiana
Salò or The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom (Salò o Le centoventi giornate di Sodoma, 1975) is among the so much arguable and scandalous motion pictures ever made. It used to be Pier Paolo Pasolini's final movie; he was once murdered presently after finishing it. An variation of Sade's vicious masterpiece, yet relocated to Fascist-ruled Italy, Salò is an unflinching, violent portrayal of sexual cruelty which many locate too demanding to watch.
yet insightful artistic endeavors are frequently anxious. underneath the extraordinary, taboo-breaking floor of Salò, Gary Indiana argues, is a deeply penetrating account of human habit that resonates not just as an account of fascism yet as an image of the company, morally compromised international we are living in this day.
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Extra resources for Salò or The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom (BFI Modern Classics)
Everyone in the villa is eating everyone else, supposedly to give them 'strength for the battle ahead' The banquet is followed by another evening of Maggi's narration The wives are crouched naked on the stairs; Maggi dances brief1y with the Bishop; she relates her adventure with a customer 'on the verge of death' and already laid out in his coffin, who wanted to consume her shit with his Preparations far a wedding feas! 79 80 BFI MODERN CLASSICS SALO OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM could not be finer stools than those of a woman who has just heard her death sentence' A close-up of Maggi's face dissolves to the title card for the 'Circle of Blood' 16 This final movement of Saló moves comparatively quickly: Blangis, Durcet and Curval are shown in the muralled parlour fussing with their elaborate drag clothes.
15 Once upon a time, four evil men captured eighteen boys and girls and brought them to a haunted castle. In place of novelistic narrative, Pasolini invokes much earlier forms of cinema: tableaux vivants, pantomime, primitive montage, the static camera framing a proscenium Instead of the usuallead and supporting actors, Saló presents an animated frieze, a series of figure-ground manipulations within the pictorial space of the villa, which is itself an elaborate meditation on the organisation of space in Renaissance perspective and its contribution to the organisation of life under capitalism SALO üR THE 120 DAYS üF SüDüM Pasolini avoids an extreme to which he might easily have gone: there are no shots of penetration in Saló, only discreet simulations - the shadow of Efisio's cock, etc Every sexual act has an awkward and ugly appearance..
Blangis claps and calls for music; the piano strikes up; Vaccari struts back and forth before the corpse, reciting. As she speaks oÍ revealing her ass to a customer, Durcet drops a girl over his lap, lifts her pleated skirt and fondles her ass through her panties. ' Blangis immediately proposes 'masturbation oÍ the respective body parts' on 'the youngsters about whom we still have doubts' This dubious exchange leads to a scene in the 'last room' oí the villa, another cavernous chamber where the Bauhaus geometry of the carpeting extends the perspective oÍ extreme shot-counter-shot, the libertines at one end of the long room, watching Vaccari and 'Guido' (a fucker elsewhere called Rinaldo - confusions oÍ naming run all through the film) at the other, bend over Renata and Sergio.