SALÒ or the 120 Days of Sodom

a.k.a. SALÒ o le 120 giornate di sodoma / Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom
company: United Artists
year: 1975
runtime: 116′
country: Italy
director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
cast: Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi,
Umberto P. Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti,
Caterina Boratto, Elsa De Giorgi,
Helene Surgere, Sonia Saviange
writers: Pier Paolo Passolini,
Sergio Citti and Pupi Avati
cinematographer: Torino Delli Colli
music: Ennio Morricone
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The great Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final film, which would not premiere until well after the director himself had been murdered under circumstances still being investigated today, seems as though it were ready made for courting  controversy.  Deeply political and disquietingly perverse, the film transposes Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom [written while he was imprisoned in the Bastille] upon a short-lived fascist Republic that existed in Italy towards the end of the second World War.  The narrative is a graphic rebellion against what Pasolini saw as a new fascism in his own time – the global consumerism the director felt was destroying Italian society before his very eyes.  SALÒ concerns the commodification of the body, the human capacity to conform, and the terrible consequences of un-restricted power.  It’s one of the only genuinely horrifying films I’ve ever seen.

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