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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ascent Into The Empyrean, 27 Aug 2008
This review is from: Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom [Blu-ray] [1975] (Blu-ray)
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. Both were of poor quality and, thanks to Pasolini's estate revoking Criterion's rights to sell the film, made this edition the rarest / most expensive in the World; well, no longer a problem. The BFI has ported over the Criterion release mainly (Here's hoping it isn't a direct NTSC-to-PAL port, the quality will suffer), apart from one particular bonus: a 25-second sequence that has never been released before showing a reading of a Gottfried Benn poem. Nothing remarkable, but it's something. And, lest we forget, we now are the recipients of BFI's first-ever Blu-Ray release; along with Criterion (Who have now announced they will soon be releasing Blu-Rays themselves) and Eureka's "Masters of Cinema" label, it's a Godsend to see Art-House in HD.

It's been said before that for Art to be effective, it must be dangerous. "Salò" is more dangerous than Ebola.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2008 09:34:25 BDT
It's a provocative and deeply disturbing movie.
It's a very risky attempt to talk about absolute power which refers to Marquis de sade and Dante' s Inferno works.
Visually superb and still outrageous after its thirty four years release ; this movie was censored in Italy and classified 18 as a porn -
It's a summary of Pasolini's art which melts his political views and his definition of what art should be and most of all signs a commitment in the city.
Definitely an artistic ufo but an essential piece of art.

Posted on 19 Oct 2008 10:05:59 BDT
"The BFI has ported over the Criterion release mainly (Here's hoping it isn't a direct NTSC-to-PAL port, the quality will suffer)"

Actually, both the BFI and Criterion releases were assembled entirely independently (it's a complete coincidence that the releases ended up being near-simultaneous), and each label was responsible for its own 35mm-sourced transfer. In fact, both the BFI releases (Blu-ray and DVD) were sourced from the same high-definition telecine, which was taken directly from the original negative.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2008 09:01:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Nov 2008 08:15:42 GMT
K. Oppegaard says:
In addition the BFI Blu-ray has the missing scene (25-second sequence during the first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by Gottfried Benn). This was cut from the original negative and is only available in a 35mm print held at the BFI National Archive.

Posted on 6 Oct 2009 20:19:08 BDT
The film is 'more dangerous than Ebola'!!! Right. One of the more fat-headed critical comments I have read.
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