Film Festival: 'Salo' Is Disturbing. By VINCENT CANBY. Published: October 1, 1977. Had Pier Paolo Pasolini not died the way he did on Nov. 1, 1975, murdered (the Rome court found) by a 17-year-old boy who repeatedly ran Mr. Pasolini's silver Alfa Romeo over the body in a scrubby vacant lot, I'm not at all sure we'd take the film that became his last work as solemnly as we must.
An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a. SALO,or the 120 DAYS OF SODOMA-directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini-trailer.
An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a.
Salò, or 120 Days of Sodom (1975). Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini. Some unbearably scathing flicks, including several on this here countdown. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), commonly referred to as simply Salò, is a 1975 Italian-French art film written and. Salo (Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) (1979). Salo (Salò o le. Salo, or the 120 Days of Solom is not a film you're likely to seek out on your own. You pretty.
The young murderer's defense was that he'd become enraged after Mr. Pasolini, who had picked him up several hours earlier near Rome's Termini Station, made homosexual advances.
The boy was convicted and sentenced to prison for nine years, seven months and 10 days. Mr.
Pasolini, said Michelangelo Antonioni, "was the victim of his own characters. If Mr. Pasolini really was the victim of his own characters, then his most significant film must be his last, "Salo, 120 Days of Sodom," Mr.
Pasolini's transposition of the Marquis de Sade's 18th-century novel to Italy (1944), and the puppet government set up at Salo in northern Italy when Mussolini was briefly free after his rescue by the Nazis from Italian partisans. Mr. Pasolini, a poet and novelist as well as a film maker, an ardent Marxist who early on had been thrown out of the Communist Party for his homosexuality, made controversial films throughout his career, but none to equal "Salo," which was completed shortly before his death. De Sade's novel has the small distinction of being the only novel I couldn't bring myself to finish reading. Indeed, de Sade himself hardly finished writing it—the last half being no more than a plan for the humiliations and tortures he wished to describe in greater detail when he had the time, which he never had.
De Sade saw his work, about the epic 120-day debauch of four pillars of French society, as a revolutionary act, designed to bring down the old order so that a new one might be established. As he described the debauch, though, he also indulged his own fantasies that passed through more or less commonplace sexual perversions to coprophilia, necrophilia and explicit torture of the young women and young men who had been kidnapped to share the hosts' pleasures. Mr. Pasolini has made a very significant change in updating this work, however. The four hosts—the duke, the president, the magistrate and the bishop—are now Fascists, expressing their ultimate desires as the world is crumbling around them in the last days of the fascist regime. They are no longer rebelling against God.
They are demonstrating the evil of the human spirit, which is something else entirely, though I can't help but feel that de Sade and Mr. Pasolini share a peculiar delight in speculating about the specific details of this evil. For all of Mr. Pasolini's desire to make "Salo" an abstract statement, one cannot look at images of people being scalped, whipped, gouged, slashed, covered with excrement and sometimes eating it and react abstractedly unless one shares the director's obsessions. Far from being the "agonized scream of total despair" the New York Film Festival calls the film, it is a demonstration of nearly absolute impotency, if there is such a thing.
Ideas get lost in a spectacle of such immediate reality and cruelty. "Salo" will be shown at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center today at 1 P.
and repeated there tomorrow evening at 6. It opens its regular commercial engagement Monday at the Festival Theater. "Salo" is, I think, a perfect example of the kind of material that, theoretically, anyway, can be acceptable on paper but becomes so repugnant when visualized on the screen that it further dehumanizes the human spirit, which is supposed to be the artist's concern. When one reads, one exercises all kinds of intellectual processes that are absent when one looks at pictures.
An image frequently says less than a thousand words. It's of especially limited use when dealing with the kind of ideas that Mr. Pasolini was playing with here. The new film has no conventional story, being an allegory composed of tableaux in which we see the four hosts making their compact, their victims being rounded up and inspected, and finally the revels themselves. These begin with some simulated sex and move on to the series of parties in which the hosts carry coprophilia as far as it can go, and then begin their elaborate, tortures, In between, a lot of high-toned talk about how the domination of one person by another is a metaphor for the capitalist's treatment of the working man, and how murder is the logical extension of such power. The words are not nonsensical, but they are feeble in conjunction with the ferocity and explicitness of the images.
The film is not without style in its settings—lots of Mussolini-era décor—or in several of its performances, including that of Caterina Boratto, who plays one of the madams who attempt to arouse the four hosts by telling them lewd stories with a piano accompaniment. Yet it all finally seems thin and superficial.
Throughout his career as a film maker, Mr. Pasolini was very good at intellectualizing. after the fact, what he was doing on the screen. His best films—"The Gospel According to St. Matthew" and "Accatone"—can stand alone. His later films, even the rambunctious "fable films" ("Decameron" and "A Thousand and One Nights") require a certain amount of rationalizing to be acceptable.
As Mr. Pasolini's vision of the world became increasingly bleak, his films became more arid. "Salo" is the bitter, empty end. SALO, 120 DAYS OF SODOM, directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini; screenplay (Italian with English subtitles) by Mr. Pasolini and Sergio Citti, based on the novel "120 Days of Sodom," by the Marquis de Sade; executive producer, Alberto Grimaldi; director of photography, Tonino Delli Colli; editor, Nino Baragli; music, Ennio Morricone; a co-production of PEA (Rome) and Les Productions Artistes Associes (Paris), distributed by Zebra Releasing Corporation.
Running time: 117 minutes. At the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. This film has not been rated. Duke. Paolo Bonacelli. Bishop. Giorgio Cataldi.
Magistrate. Umberto P. Quinavalle. President. Aldo Valletti.
Signora Castelli. Caterina Boratto. Signora Maggi. Elsa De Giorgi.