Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini did not live to see the storms of controversy and scandal that were whipped up around Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, his potent and uncompromising adaptation of the Marquis de Sade. Remaining banned in a number of countries and rarely theatrically screened in the UK, Pasolini said of the film: ‘This film is a cinematographic transposition of Sade’s novel The 120 Days of Sodom. I should like to say that I have been absolutely faithful to the psychology of the characters and their actions, and that I have added nothing of my own. Even the structure of the story line is identical, although obviously it is very synthetised. Despite my absolute fidelity to Sade’s text, I have however introduced an absolutely new element: the action instead of taking place in eighteenth-century France, takes place practically in our own time, in Salò, around 1944, to be exact. This means that the entire film with its unheard-of atrocities which are almost unmentionable, is presented as an immense sadistic metaphor of what was the Nazi-Fascist ‘dissociation’ from its ‘crimes against humanity’.

This film contains graphic content of a sexual and violent nature.

117 minutes

German and Italian

Partial English

Country of origin:
France, Germany and Italy

Year of production: