Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Salo is aggressive and hostile

We rented "Salo" by Pier Paolo Pasolini. This movie caused discomfort, nausea, insomnia, guilt, and depression. Based on Marquis de Sade's "120 Days of Sodom," it tells of old fascists who kidnap 19 children to a distant palace, where they debauch the children in lawless and inhumane ways. This includes beating, whipping, forcefeeding, raping, and killing them.

We tried to read it as dark humor, but that only went so far. And everyone says, "Pasolini indicts the viewer, the passive, entertained voyeur, aligning him or her with the villains, especially in the torturous climax." But that's nonsense, because the fascist villains don't just watch: they initiate and participate in the horror, and even couple with each other. The viewer responds with sympathy, helplessness, or the aforementioned nausea.

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