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Salo [DVD] [2001]

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  • Actors: Paolo Bonacelli, Laura Betti, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti
  • Directors: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Marquis de Sade, Pupi Avati, Sergio Citti
  • Producers: Alberto De Stefanis, Alberto Grimaldi, Antonio Girasante
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French, German, Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 2 April 2001
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005954M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,686 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Set during the time of Mussolini, Pier Paolo Pasolini's adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's '120 Days of Sodom' concerns the adventures of four high-ranking fascist officials - a duke, a bishop, a banker and a judge - who lock themselves away in a palace with a retinue of servants and sixteen kidnapped teenagers, both male and female. They systematically torture and abuse the teenagers in a series of sadistic tableux involving coprophilia, necrophilia and murder. Banned all over the world on its initial release, this was Pasolini's final film.


Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom (known in Italian as Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) provoked howls of outrage and execration on its original release in 1975, and the controversy rages to this day. Until the British Board of Film Classification finally ventured a certificate in 2000, the movie could only be shown at private cinema clubs, and even then in severely mutilated form. The relaxation of the censors' shears allows you to see for yourself what the fuss was about, but be warned--Salò will test the very limits of your endurance. Updating the Marquis de Sade's phantasmagorical novel of the same title from 18th-century France to fascist Italy at the end of World War II, writer-director Pasolini relates a bloodthirsty fable about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Four upper-class libertines gather in an elegant palazzo to inflict the extremes of sexual perversion and cruelty upon a hand-picked collection of young men and women. Meanwhile, three ageing courtesans enflame the proceedings further by spinning tales of monstrous depravity. The most upsetting aspect of the film is the way Pasolini's coldly voyeuristic camera dehumanises the victims into lumps of random flesh. Though you may feel revulsion at the grisly details, you aren't expected to care much about what happens to either master or slave. In one notorious episode, the subjugated youths are forced to eat their own excrement--a scene almost impossible to watch, even if you know the meal was actually composed of chocolate and orange marmalade. (Pasolini mischievously claimed to be satirising our modern culture of junk food.) Salò is the ultimate vision of apocalypse--and as if in confirmation, the director was himself brutally murdered just before its premiere. You can reject the movie as the work of an evil-minded pornographer, but you won't easily forget it. --Peter Matthews

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Brady Orme VINE VOICE on 26 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD
There are few movies out there, if any, that can generate as much ire and disgust as Pasolini's "Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma". Over the years, the film has created this almost mythical quality around itself, if mostly for the fact that it's still banned / badly cut in many countries around the World (Including Australia; so much for the Enlightenment). Not so for us lucky Brits - The BBFC has passed the uncut edition since the Halcyon Days of 2000, when I was lucky enough to view it on Film4 late at night. Make no mistakes, if any film has the ability to transform you into a gibbering, crying mess, it's this one.

Not for the Faint-Hearted? You'd better believe it.

And thus, it's hard to really "recommend" this film to anyone, as you wouldn't really "recommend" divorce - But it's a life experience you can gain valuable knowledge from. The film takes it's inspiration / Modus Operandi from the Marquis De Sade's notorious novel "The 120 Days of Sodom" , which, if you have read it, you will know perfectly well what you can expect from the film. Transporting the setting to Mussolini-Era Fascist Italy, four Aristocratic Libertines subject their young subjects to Sexual Manipulation and Torture, both physical and psychological. Pasolini does not shun from showing these in all their brightest colours, and considering that the great man was murdered mere months after the film's premiere, it can be surmised that it raised much anger amongst those artistically inclined. Watch at your peril, without Mother and Children preferably.

Notes on the 2-Disc BFI edition itself - The film has been released before, on Criterion and BFI in the '90s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Veronika on 27 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD
I really dont know what to say or how to rate this movie. I am not prude, oposite actually. Many people would be shocked how tolerant I am with many taboo topics when I choose my entertainment. I saw different movies around the topic and I knew when I started to watch that it wont be an easy one. (which I normally list as a positive. I love using my brain).
Where to start, what to judge?
Shall we say that he was a crazy sick pervert to write books like this? Or the director is shamless to make this adaptation? Shall we agree that this was a very provocating movie - which he wanted us to hate? They nailed that part for sure. And no I didnt like it one bit, I found it disturbing - even tho Im somehow familiar with many sexual perversions (studied a lot about them at the uni).
Im just saying - see behind the obvious! Nobody likes the story, nobody likes what they do and how they treat other humans and how twisted it is.
The question is: is it a daring art piece wanting to rape your emotions and force you to face things, see things and feel things? I think yes.
Everyone has an opinion - so he nailed it! Hundread of years and we still talk about his perverted mind!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By K. Driscoll on 16 July 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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84 of 97 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
'Salo' is one of the few films I've seen that on one hand is compulsive (in a rubbernecking kinda way) and repulsive. The tone is probably the darkest I've ever seen in a film- which itself is more disturbing than the violence- which is sickening (by design) but not throwaway nihilistic like Tarantino, Arnie or 'Black Hawk Down'...Viewing is aided by the excellent '120 Days of Sodom' and the accompanying essays (some reccomended in the title sequence here). But don't worry- this film says very little- over and over again. Which is its message...Pasolini places a Dantean-triptych onto Sade's text, reducing the 120 days to 3 (which feel like forever)and setting it to the fascist backdrop of Salo during World War II. Not that this is a historical film- the comment on the allure of Fascism to Italy is one that recurs. Here Pasolini dispenses with the celebration of life offerred in films like 'Medea', 'The Decameron' & 'The Canterbury Tales'. This is like 'Porcille' magnified or the design of 'Theorum' applied to the horrors of fascism in practice...The film begins with the sole beautiful shot of a harbour-which could have come from Antonioni or Bertolucci. Then the libertines marry each others daughters, kidnap (?) the peasants who will become the ****ers (though we think they are to be the victims.), audition their victims and transplant them to the hell of an unseen machine-like world. This is where the rape and torture and ****eating begins (though Pasolini puts the latter down to a comment on fast-food consumption). There are lots of scenes of sexual depravity, prosthetic-penises and an oblique reference to Communism. Then, the Circle of Blood- which is horror in its truest sense.Read more ›
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