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Salo/DVD [1975] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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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: Colour, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Aug 1998
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559408855
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,722 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 166 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 Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 April 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
De Sade's satire of pre revolutionary France has always been shorn of its malevolent intent. This was to expose, ridicule and create a simmering anger directed at the occupants of the ancien regime. De Sade brimmed with vitriolic fury.

There is a reason the books antagonists are not carpenters, masons, footsoldiers and beggars. Instead they are its epitome, its social aristocracy, its elite. These are the people De Sade was aiming his burning frothing ire at.They have happily deflected the critique with a "celebration" of the book as a form of liberating sexuality, hence the term Sadism, the enjoyment of inflicting pain to cause suffering and cruelty. Sadism preceded De Sade and was not invented by him, ask the victims of the Inquisition?

Passolini took the essence of his book and explored its metaphorical parameters using celluloid during an open window in culture when such things could be examined. It is surprising many people read the book as titillation porn, or as a catalyst for killing children? (the Ian Brady defence). This speaks volumes about the psyche of the reader.

The 20th C paternalist censorship kept the book hidden from the working classes. It was thought it would invoke repressed instinctual drives to suddenly explode. Hence the need for more punishment by social superiors to assist with this repression. The De Sade defence is used to keep the people away.
Sobibor, Treblinka, Joy Division, Srebenica, Rwanda, Algeria, My Lai, Sarajevo, Drancy, Mosul were all seen as aberrant acts not part of a continuum. Passolini uses De Sade to make power visible, the hidden world now becomes apparent.
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82 of 95 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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