Film #125: SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
2 out of 5 stars
I decided to revisit this classic film by Pier Paolo Pasolini after seeing CANNIBAL. It had been years, maybe even decades, since I originally saw it. And the truth is, the film simply doesn’t hold up. While its content was undoubtedly quite shocking for 1975 when it was made, now, at a time when Internet porn, bestiality, and beheading videos are commonplace, the whole thing seems rather simple and juvenile. SALO’s main problem (as seen through modern eyes) is that it flinches. When certain acts are portrayed, the camera either turns its never blinking eye away or has its line of site obscured by a well placed table or chair. Now, I am by no means saying that I WANT to see people pissing or shitting on one another, but, if you - as a director - decided to put it in your film, to NOT show it is just weak-spined and pussy. So, in the end, does SALO deserve its controversial reputation? Well, no… while it does imply great deviancy, it lacks the will to actually show it. Again, I’m sure this was all incredibly shocking for its time, but… that was over thirty years ago. A LOT’S happened since then and audience’s tolerances have - for better or worse - matured (for want of a better term. SALO is worth seeing now purely as an anthropological artifact of its time. If you’re looking to be shocked (or disgusted), there are PLENTY of more effective ways to spend your time for free on the Internet.