Nov 11, 2015
Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom
I have, for a paper I wrote in grad school. Or at least I skimmed through it.
Four wealthy libertines decide to try out every sexual gratification there is. So they shut themselves up in a secluded castle for four months with 46 victims: their own daughters, some male prostitutes, some exceptionally attractive teenage boys and girls, and some exceptionally ugly older women. They get ideas from four experienced prostitutes, who tell stories of "passions," or erotic acts.
Though the list is long -- 600 items -- it omits a lot of common sexual acts, fetishes, and paraphilias, and includes a lot of weird ones. All of them require the act to be non-consensual.
But violence is the biggest draw. A month is devoted to the "cruel passions," various types of torture. Another month is devoted to the "murderous" passions: burning alive, disemboweling, and otherwise killing victims.
Gay Italian filmmaker Piers Paolo Pasolini adapted it Salo (1975), substituting World War II fascists for libertines. He adds a bit more plot, including a hetero-romance, and ups the humiliation factor.
Actually, the whole movie is somewhat less shocking than one expects from hearing its history of banning and censorship. Today you can see much, much worse in the torture porn genre, like Saw and The Human Centipede.
But maybe not so curious. His other movies present same-sex acts as, at best pleasant diversion from the heterosexual romance that is the theme of everyone's dreeaming.
He was gay, but apparently he wished he wasn't.