Sunday, November 16, 2008

SALO (17) - was it worth it?

Salo (17) was, and probably always will be, one of the most painful, disturbing, stomach-turning movie watching experiences I've ever had. For those of you who haven't been following over the course of the last three days, the film revolves around a small town in 1940s Fascist Italy, where a group of sadistic politicos and their wives take a group of 18 youth and subject them to well, horrible, horrible tortures. I came in to this film expecting a certain amount of grossness, but Jesus almighty, it transcended my expectations. I stopped the film last week right before the segment entitled "Circles of Feces" and yes, there was a lot of poop involved. Poop stories, poop-filled bathtubs, crying girls eating poop, a gigantic dinner platter piled high with, yup you guessed, it human poop. In my entire life as a film watcher I've never been so disgusted that I honestly thought about turning a film off, but during this section of the film, I had to look away it was so viscerally disturbing. From here the film continues with a torture and further degradation and a nipple-burning moment that once again had me reaching for the stop button. This movie was not enjoyable in any way to watch.

Which begs the question: what's the point of making a movie so difficult to watch? Is their merit in makign a film this shockingly gross? Or is this just a sadistic son-of-a-bitch screwing with the minds of his audience?

I honestly don't know. You can see the symbolism inherent in the film, the bursts of life that seem to flutter even in the harshest of conditions but to me director Pier Paolo Pasolini (shot to death before the film was ever released) paints these flashes of life with such strange cruelty that I couldn't find much meaning in them. I like shock cinema, I like films that viscerally affect you, that leave an image on your brain that you just can't shake, but this might've been too much. Maybe it's because I've a lack of experience with Fascist Italy or that I couldn't get behind the extreme beliefs held by Pasolini, but this film made me feel dirty and that's about it. I challenge any of you to sit through this, but I can't recommend the viewing for any reason but that you'll forever be able to say that yes, you've seen Salo and survived. During my research of the film there were writers that said they'd seen it multiple times. These people are called morons.

Thank god, this film is finally out of my life. Tomorrow we'll get back to a regular viewing schedule.

Tuesday: Dead Ringers (21) & Insomnia (47)

1 comment:

John and Cathy said...

For all those who read this blog, Noah is absolutely right - his parents hate him - DUH - he should have picked that up a long time ago - we have tried, but failed. Oh, this is his mother.