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5,213 Ratings

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy, France, 1975
Drama, History, LGBT+


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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Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
As a film that encourages and exploits our feelings of helplessness as not just individuals but citizenry, Salò may be as powerful and great a work of art as George Orwell’s novel 1984 (which has been back in the conversation since Trump’s election), but it’s so troubling—and literally nauseating—that it would have as much of a chance of being consumed and understood on any kind of wide scale today as it was when it was (barely) released, and often summarily banned, around the world in 1975.
May 16, 2017
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Salò is an example of alternative cinema but one can hardly put the label of exploitation on it; and Pasolini is of course a major example of the inconvenient intellectual, usually considered an auteur, but one can hardly keep Salò constrained within the boundaries of auteur cinema. It is precisely this short circuit that makes Pasolini’s last cinematic work even more interesting and worthy of further investigation.
December 16, 2015
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Pasolini’s intellectual despair is manifest in every image of this film, still difficult to watch after 40 years, in part because Salò’s extraordinary beauty works in counterpoint with the cruelty of its content. The film is most difficult because of its uncompromised premises about the fate of humanity under capitalism.
September 09, 2013
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