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Salo: What a piece of S**t *Spoilers*

Old 03-20-00, 10:05 AM
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1st I have to say that my dislike for this movie does not stem from the scenes that many consider disgusting. I am a hard person to disgust so that did not bother me in the least. I read reviews of the movie and they said things like "This movie shows the horrors of war and what it can do to man." "This movie is a statement of fascism" ect. What bothered me is that this movie was nothing more than the deviant thoughts of the director translated onto film.
From the reviews I was expecting something more along the lines of captors mistreating captives, such as is often portrayed in the Vietnam War POW situations. This was not the case. This movie was just about some rich powerful men who choose 9 boys and 9 girls out of a group and molested them because they could. How does that show what war can do to a man? and there are surely more tasteful ways to fight fascism. These characters acted the way they acted because that is who they were. War did not make them that way. I truly believe this movie is nothing more than the result of a sick mind and has no redeeming value. It is no secret that Paolo Pasolini was a sexual devient in his personal life as he was murdered by a young prostitute. This movie is more about domination using fecal matter than any attempt at putting down fasicm or war. I could easily write a 10 page synopsis on why this movie is irrelevant to certain themes it proclaims to fight and prove it is merely a portrayal of sexual fantasies that could never be acted out in real life, but what's the point.
As far as the acting goes it was terrible. I speak Italian so I know. The dialogue was non existant. There was no character development. The camera work is what really made my stomach turn and finally, the end was the absolutely pathetic. I'll leave the wonderful ending for you to discover.
If I am missing something here can someone please inform me of that fact. What did others think of this movie?
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Old 03-20-00, 11:33 AM
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Criterions' motto:

"The Criterion Collection, continuing series of important classic and contemporary films"

Ya, right "Salo", "Armageddon", and the upcoming "The Rock"... sounds real important to me.

So much for standards.
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Old 03-20-00, 12:14 PM
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oh, they have to make money somehow, give them a break

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Old 03-20-00, 12:28 PM
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While I am no fan of Salo, it doesn't fall into the category of Armageddon and the Rock.

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Old 03-20-00, 01:12 PM
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Firstly, I would just like to comment that although I have seen this film once, I have no desire to watch this film again. Secondly, although Salo: 120 Days of Sodom is not a pleasant film, it does have some redemptive value in what it attempts to accomplish, unlike Armageddon or The Rock which have zero cinematic value. I don't understand why, of all the Pasolini films that could have been released by Criterion, this was the one selected: not necessarily because it is a "disgusting" film, but because it is his most cynical film. Salo is based on Marquis de Sade's depraved novel, and was only adapted to screen by Pasolini. In this context, it is not a reflection of Pasolini's "sexual deviancy" (he was openly homosexual, but that was all), but de Sade's own (and well-documented) perverse behavior. What Pasolini attempts to convey is not how war corrupts men into acts of evil, but how victims accept their roles and allow themselves to be victimized. In terms of Fascism, the film was more of an indictment of how Pasolini's fellow countrymen allowed Fascism to spread by subjugating themselves. Does he mean to shock people out of complacency? Definitely. Does he succeed? Not entirely. But I give him credit for trying. It is unfortunate that Criterion no longer produces this DVD, since its scarcity has generated an artificial (and undeserved) buzz. Pasolini made some truly great films, such as Accatone or The Canterbury Tales, which are lost on collectors mesmerized by the value of the physical disc, and not by the disturbing images of the film itself.

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Old 03-20-00, 01:34 PM
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I have to admire DiscoDuck for speaking his mind. I've never seen this movie, and don't really want to, but I have to say this guy is awesome for being so outspoken on something that he obviously feels deeply about.
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Old 03-20-00, 01:54 PM
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Redshift you make soem good points such as the fact this film tries too hard to shock and it is very cynical. Also that it is the worst of all Pasolini films. I still think Pasolini used this film to vent some of his darker side. As I'm sure you know, Salo the movie is a loose interpretation of the novel. Considering the fact that Pasolini (a grown man) had sex with teenage prostitutes that makes him a deviant.
Also, the film did not strike me as a portrayal of how captives accept their victimization. I remember little boys and girls being scared out of their minds and forced to do terrible things by captives who were much older than them, used brainwashing and carried weapons. They did not accept any of the torture. They did what they were told out of fear and that deep desire within most humans to keep living no matter what. Besides that one kid that seemed to like hooking up with the captors, all the other kids hated their situation. Did the boy caught having sex with the maid seem upset when he knew he was gonna be shot? I didn't see anyone smiling over sitting in a bowl of feces. I think if anything the movie might show the things a human will put themselves through just to breathe for one more second. Maybe Pasolini trying to show that people don't believe in God enough to end this life no matter how terrible it is.
As far as facism I stick to my statement that there are a million better ways to depict it than in the form Pasolini chose.
Anymore comments anyone? I think this is an interesting film to discuss.
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Old 03-20-00, 04:45 PM
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Well, I'm don't have any comments to make about the film, because I've never seen it.

I have a question related to that fact though. How did you get to see it? You don't seem to be able to buy it and I doubt that Blockbuster is going to have it on the shelf. I've heard so many comments about Salo that I would like to see it just so I could see what it's really like.

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Old 03-20-00, 07:37 PM
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Dead, well, luckily (or not), I have a Laser Disc player, and know of a place where I could actually rent the Salo LD. But I won't because I'm just not too interested in some sadistic buttmunch feeding sh!t to their captives.

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Old 03-21-00, 09:38 AM
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Dead, I think that the VHS version of Salo from Home Vision Cinema is still available. This was the version I saw.

In this month's Innersense journal, Bill Mousoulis has an article called "In the Extreme: Pasolini's Salo. Definitely worth a read.
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Old 03-21-00, 09:46 AM
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redshift,

I did a search on Home Vision Cinema and only found a "coming soon web page". Is this the company who distributes the videos or a retailer? Even assuming that this is a "piece of... ", I would like to see it so I can judge for myself.

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Old 03-21-00, 10:01 AM
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Dead, Home Vision Cinema is the VHS counterpart of Criterion. I did a quick search, and it looks like it's still available from mail order stores with their own warehouses, like Movies Unlimited or Critic's Choice Video for around $40. It's also available for sale or rent at Facets.
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Old 03-21-00, 10:47 AM
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redshift,

Thanks for the information. I've actually found that some of the big online stores still carry the VHS version. I'm not sure that I want to pay for a VHS version though.

Also, thanks for the link. Some interesting reading there, and not just about Salo. I may be interested in seeing Romance too. And, it is available on DVD.

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Old 03-21-00, 09:54 PM
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Very many pieces of s**t, from memory, some arranged on plates, others being smeared all over people.
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Old 03-23-00, 05:36 AM
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I think Criterion did a disservice to Pasolini (if he was alive) by releasing Salo & only Salo. Criterion draws people to movies with their excellent brand name, and by only releasing Salo they imply that this is one of his better movies.

I actually like Salo, and as a culmination of Pasolini's career (before his murder) I could not imagine the world without this movie. But if someone plopped this movie in my lap before I had seen Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales, or Decameron, I would probably be put off by it too. Remember, Salo was the third of his Trilogy of Life, so it's like watching the Return Of the Jedi before Star Wars. (yes, i am kidding - there is no comparison!)

Pasolini puts off many modern viewers (and many of his contemporaries) with his naturalistic (or amateauristic) film making & his actor's acting style. I believe he started out in film w/ the 'open' cinema styles of De Sica (Umberto D) or Open City, which explains his use of 'locals' and amateurs. But even the professional actors used have shed their pretentions (and often their clothes) and taken on a natural, almost clumsy acting style. However, he has also added a constant thread of the surreal and fantastic in his movies, so he definitely moved the Italian cinema forward.

I believe his films cannot be over analyzed, but should be enjoyed as organic tales, breathing and fluid rather than structured and intellectual.

If you'd like to give him another try, please take one of the suggestions below:

Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) - most of the film 'elite' consider this his best film. Actually was nominated for a few academy awards in its day. I haven't sat through the whole thing yet (i favor his later films)

Teorema (1968) - one of my favorite films, Terence Stamp is the ultimate seductor (literally & spiritually) of a middle class family bored w/ their bourgeois lives.

Arabian Nights (1974) - the best of his later films, will be quite a shock to those that only know Pasolini for Salo: it is a joyous film, romping through several of the oft told stories in a more, how shall i say, raunchy style. This film would probably be banned from theaters if released today. Many dislike it's amateuristic cast and frequent nudity, but I find it refreshing and mystical.

By the way, if anyone hates Salo & wants to sell their dvd to a loving home, I'd be happy to oblige. I am not, however, willing to mortgage my house to pay for it! write me [email protected]

[This message has been edited by Pasolini (edited March 23, 2000).]
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Old 03-23-00, 08:37 AM
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Some good points, Pasolini. One definitely needs to take into account Pasolini's entire body of work, and not judging his work based solely on Salo, which is why I give him credit for the attempt (although I still think that he doesn't quite hit the mark). If it were the first Pasolini film I had seen, I wouldn't pursue him further either.

As for the use of non-professional actors, Robert Bresson was equally reviled for his use of them. Now he is considered by many (including me) to be one of the finest French filmmakers ever.

Incidentally, I had forgotten about The Gospel of St. Matthew--now THAT was a good film. From your annotation on it (about favoring his later films), I believe that the preference is the underlying reason for the difference in opinion. I thoroughly enjoy neorealist films, and really don't care for a lot of the hyperbole and exagerration of late 60's-early 70's Italian cinema (I'm not a big fan of post 8 1/2 Fellini, although I have seen and collect his latter works).

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