Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 4/30/99
1975 (1998) - PEA/United
review by Todd Doogan,
special to The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+, B+, C
Specs and Features
112 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), single-sided,
single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu
screens, scene access (29 chapters), languages: Italian (DD mono),
I always have a hard
time writing about this film. In fact, don't be surprised if this is
short and sweet. Salò
is about excess. It's about human depravity and it's about human
Holed up in a small villa, four very nasty Italian politicians
bring together a couple of evil madams, a handful of Nazi soldiers
and eighteen teenagers for a weekend of twisted "fun". Not
my idea of fun, but theirs. It's the last days of the Third Reich
and Mussolini's fascist blackshirts are on their way down - why not
go out with a little style, huh? The teens are raped, killed,
emotionally and physically tortured and at one point forced to eat
human feces. To paraphrase Goodfellas,
"Nice f*@&in' movie." It is beautiful though. It's the
perfect example of "car crash psychology" - you don't want
to look, but you find yourself staring at it in spite of yourself.
The filmmaker, Pier Paolo Pasolini was a master of beautiful epics.
The Canterbury Tales and Arabian
Nights both established him as a filmmaker with vision.
It was with this film, a personal attack on the politics that
destroyed his family during his childhood (his brother was killed by
the Blackshirts during WWII) that gave him notoriety. It seems
fitting that the man who breathed life into Chaucer's Canterbury
Tales and St. Matthew's story of Christ (The
Gospel According To St. Matthew) would also want to tell
the most notorious tale by the Marquis de Sade.
Although not filled with extras or even a commentary track that
tries to explain things, the Criterion edition of this film is
fascinating just for the film itself. Preserved beautifully, the
disc looks and sounds wonderful. I hope that Criterion eventually
starts to go 16x9 - and boy would this film benefit by that. I still
say it looks as good as most discs out there -- Pasolini knew how to
move a camera, and this film is a testament to that. Among other
THIS DISC IS CURRENTLY
OUT OF PRINT.