Salò, or the 120 Days of odom
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), commonly referred to as Salò, is a 1975 Italian drama film written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini with uncredited writing contributions by Pupi Avati. It is based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. The story is in four segments inspired by Dante's Inferno: the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit, and the Circle of Blood. Because of its scenes depicting intensely graphic violence, sadism, and sexual depravity, the movie was extremely controversial upon its release, and remains banned in several countries. It was Pasolini's last film; he was murdered shortly before Salò was released. The film focuses on four wealthy, corrupted fascist libertines after the fall of Benito Mussolini's Italy in 1944 who kidnap a total of eighteen teenage boys and girls and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, sexual and mental torture. The film is noted for exploring the themes of political corruption, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, sexuality, and fascism. Although it remains a controversial film, it has been praised by various film historians and critics, and while not typically considered a horror film, Salò was named the 65th scariest film ever made by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2006 and is the subject of an article in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural (1986). The story is set in the Republic of Salò, the Fascist-occupied portion of Italy in 1944. Four men of power, the Duke (Duc de Blangis), the Bishop, the Magistrate (Curval), and the President (apparently Durcet) agree to marry each other's daughters as the first step in a debauched ritual. With the aid of several collaborating young men, they kidnap eighteen young men and women (nine of each sex), and take them to a palace near Marzabotto. Accompanying them are four middle-aged prostitutes, also collaborators, whose function in the debauchery will be to recount erotically arousing stories for the men of power, who, in turn, will sadistically exploit their victims. The story depicts some of the many days at the palace, during which the four men of power devise increasingly abhorrent tortures and humiliations for their own pleasure. In the Anteinferno segment, the captures of some victims by the collaborators are shown, and, later, the four lords examining them. The Circle of Manias presents some of the stories in the first part of Sade's book, told by Mrs. Vaccari (Hélène Surgère). In the Circle of Shit, the passions escalate in intensity from mainly non-penetrative sex to coprophagia. One scene shows a young woman forced to eat the feces of the Duke; later, the other victims are presented a giant meal of human feces. The Circle of Blood starts with a black mass-like wedding between the guards and the men of power, after which the Bishop is sodomized by his assistant. The Bishop then leaves to examine the captives in their rooms, where they start systematically betraying each other: one girl is revealed to be hiding a photograph, two girls are shown to be having a secret sexual affair, and finally, a collaborator (Ezio Manni) and the black servant (Ines Pellegrini) are shot down after being found having sex. Toward the end, the remaining victims are murdered through methods like scalping, branding, tongue and eyes cut out as each libertine takes his turn to watch, as voyeur. The film's final shot is of two young soldiers, who had witnessed and collaborated in all of the prior atrocities, dancing a simple waltz together.