A little over two hundred years ago, some pervert named Marquis de Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom.
For those of you unfamiliar, it's about four rich and powerful aristocrats who have been sexually abusing their daughters, who decide to throw their daughters in a castle along with either pretty young girls, eight handsome young boys, and four ugly old crones. Then, they enlist as accomplices four veteran whores and eight men with huge penises (four of whom de Sade doesn't bother to name), and spend four months doing no end of horrible shit to the daughters, pretty little girls and boys, and ugly old crones. (If I remember right, a couple of the castle cook's assistants get raped as well. The cook protests, and the perverts decide that actually having food is a good thing, so they decide not to rape any more of the cook's staff.)
There are people who will argue that this book is an amazing social commentary, an attack on those who would abuse their power... but no, I disagree. The Marquis de Sade was just a pervert. And not any of the fun or hot kinds of pervert, either. The 120 Days of Sodom
ought to have ended with the lines, "wow, that's a hell of an act. What do you call it?" "The Aristocrats!"
Nearly forty years ago, some guy named Pier Paolo Pasolini (who isn't just some guy, but was apparently a towering cultural figure) decided that the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom
really needed to be a movie, and created Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma.
I can just imagine the sort of casting calls for it:
Wanted: eight pretty young women and eight handsome young men. Must be willing to be filmed naked, act like a dog, play a victim in simulated rape scenes, eat (and possibly bathe in) chocolate on camera, and ultimately be tortured (with bad special effects). Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.
Wanted: four tough young men. Must be willing to play rapists and be filmed naked (except for a large rubber cock). Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.
Wanted: four older men. Must be willing to play powerful brutes, dress (badly) in drag, eat chocolate and have lemonade dribbled on your faces. Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.
And a few hours ago, some poor fool named "fierynotes" decided, after arming himself with a mostly-complete translation of the script, to watch this beastly shitstain of a movie. In retrospect, this was not one of my better decisions.
The pacing of this movie is not merely slow, but glacial. Pasolini spent twenty-two minutes framing the horrors that will take place in that castle. After that, things got disturbing. About an hour in, I wanted to throw up. (There are a couple of infamous scenes of coprophagia in this movie. I don't care if the copro- in question was choco-, I wanted to throw up.) Then an ass-judging contest, then a mockery of a wedding in which our four aristocrats get "married" to the four guys with extra-large rubber cocks, then a mudbath (which made me want to throw up again). Ultimately, this movie ends with the victims being raped, tortured, and murdered... and the pianist, who's been providing the soundtrack for all of this abuse, decides to jump out a very high window. Can't say I blame her.
In every way that matters, this movie is faithful to the source material... but having the four veteran whores as storytellers makes the pace of the movie unbearably slow. (I suppose this is a blessing in disguise -- it helps to give the viewer a break from all the horrible stuff being shown.) It's just like the book in that if you squint, you can construe it as social commentary... but it's still just an Aristocrats joke.
One last thing I feel I need to add, and this is my music geek showing... this movie came out in 1975. Carl Orff died in 1982. I mention this because near the end of Salò, Veris leta facies
("The Merry Face of Spring," from Carmina Burana) gets excerpted, and if I were Orff, I would have sued the everliving fuck out of... well, I don't know. Pasolini was fatally stabbed shortly before Salò was released. But I would have found someone
to sue, and then I would have sued them off the planet. I can only assume that Orff never became aware that his music was abused in this way.
I want a drink after watching this. I can only add that I'm glad I downloaded this -- I'd hate to have paid
to watch this. I'll be deleting it as soon as I finish typing up this post -- I feel filthy just for allowing it to exist on my computer.