When it comes to controversial films, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has its standing ticket to first place. Even after four decades, the film has lost none of its radical impact with its unparalleled illustration of perverse human desires.
During the Republic of Salò, between 1943 and 1945, four wealthy fascist libertines build their personal empire of sadism, violence and murder, kidnapping 18 teenagers for their own perverse desires.
Much has been written about the film, its impact, and films like it. There is, of course, "Irreversible" by Gaspar Noé with a difficult-to-understand rape scene that lasts more than 10 minutes. One might think of 2008's "Martyrs," another blood-soaked representative of the French New Extremity movement.
There's Lars von Trier with his "Antichrist" with its crushed testicles, amputated clitoris and descent into madness, or the whole of 2010's "A Serbian Film." But while all of these films definitely illustrate similar abysmal plots, they are products of the 21st century. twentieth century, a fact that is evidently reflected in a different aesthetic.
As such, the list below focuses on some less popular options and with an eye toward similar aesthetics and themes rather than purely depicting cruelty and violence. Along with some notable movies, this list includes some examples of similar movies that failed to match the quality of Pasolini's latest film. spoilers ahead.
1. La Grande Bouffe (Marco Ferreri)
The plot of La Grande Bouffe is as simple as the title suggests. Four wealthy men arrive at an opulent mansion to commit suicide together by eating whatever they can. In fact, your cravings pertain to any form of oral consumption. The last days of men's lives end in a repulsive orgy of lust and gluttony beyond all continence and frugality.
The film is not concerned with explaining the backstories of the characters, but with the straightforward presentation of Western smut and waste. It illustrates the dark side of hedonism, a place where the insatiable grimace is led to sadomasochistic desires beyond self-determination and freedom.
Released in 1973, the film was made under the influence of the sexual revolution and the ever-present possibilities of pleasure. There's a reason the four men are tired of life: constant abundance has robbed them of their zest for life. Neither delicacies nor female company can add auspicious nuances to your existence. It's quite metaphorical that legal stimulants like food are men's choice for their collective orgiastic death, illustrating the downside of the new freedom of the late '60s and early '70s.
The social criticism in "La Grande Bouffe" is evident and is accompanied by an aesthetic of disgust. The constant waves of belching and flatulence culminate in a blockage of the toilet and subsequent fecal sources. An interesting image for the negative sides of hedonism that cannot be washed away but always come to the surface.
2. In the realm of the senses (Nagisa Oshima)
Along with Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke called this film one of only two examples of sexuality adequately portrayed on film. He is not referring to the art of the sexual interactions between the two leads, but to the way Nagisa Oshima illustrates them. Like Pasolini's film, his visual approach is more analytical, without enriching the representation with emotional values or subjective perspectives.
Based on the true events of Abe Sada, the film opens with the maid beginning her new job at the Kichizō court. In addition to her daily duties as her servant, she must provide sexual favors for her new master. Subsequently, both he and her slave begin a sadomasochistic relationship in which she increasingly claims ownership of her object of desire. The dangerous relationship loses touch with reality and ends with Abe circumcising the genitals of his master.
Apart from the careful staging of both films, which oscillates between cruel sadness and opulent beauty, there are a number of similarities. In Oshima's film, the leads treat the human body as something to be claimed (Kichizō describes his penis as "practically yours", Sada replies "You're right, it's mine"). Pasolini furthers the reduction of the human body to an object by having the four fascists treat a whole group of people as their property, things of their sexual pleasure.
Also interesting about The Realm of the Senses is Oshima's disinterest in the backstories of the characters (there is only a brief scene where the protagonists talk about their parents).
As in "Salò", the film deals with current actions without justifying them in the past of the characters. It is about now, about acting in the present. Attraction for one party and destruction for the other, power, when exercised in an abusive extreme, can erase the past and even the future. Both directors exemplify this concept by illustrating the extreme poles of obsession, the dynamics of desire, the abuse of power over other people, and death.
3. The night porter (Liliana Cavani)
Like Salò, Cavani's 1974 The Night Porter combines the deformities of fascism with abnormal sexual desires. In the course of accepting National Socialism, the connection between concentration camps and systematic sexual exploitation and humiliation emerged.
In the form of a perfidious reward system, the female body was used to control the work capacity of the inmates. In addition to these systematic crimes, high-ranking Nazi officers ruthlessly exploited the imbalance of power towards their subordinates. This is part of the premise of The Night Porter.
More than a decade after World War II, a concentration camp survivor and her tormentor, now a night porter at a Viennese hotel, meet again and relapse into their sadomasochistic relationship. On a visual level, both films share a similar aesthetic, which is not surprising given their close release dates.
But instead of "Salò", the film fails to get the right tone for its delicate substance. Above all, the non-diegetic use of music and the partly subjective camerawork ensure that the film falls into cheap gratification rather than a serious illustration of sadistic behaviour.
In addition, the authenticity suffers from the scenery, which reveals budgetary difficulties. While most of the other movies on this list have some indie quality to them, The Night Porter is a great example of bringing out Salò's strengths.
4. Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton)
A female body, head bowed in an idyllic stream. A naked woman in a bathroom covered in blood with a crushed coke bottle penetrating the right side of her face. Haunting images of blood-soaked murders. The sacred sound of spherical synths and the last screams of the victim. What could be the message behind this conflicting mix of image and music? Was death a kind of salvation for the victims from their psychopathic tormentor? Death as the only hope of salvation.
Henry's victims shared this with the teenagers from "Salò". From the first recordings one is as aware of hopelessness, of the sheer certainty of death, of the pain that the victims will suffer as the teenagers of "Salò". But there is another aspect that the close-up reveals. The camera zooms out, creating a literal and emotional distance for the audience.
While some notable differences separate director John McNaughton's work from Pasolini's, there is a similarity between the two films that is perfectly symbolized by the film's opening shot.
As Pasolini did in Salò, McNaughton portrays his characters and their stories in sober frames. As the name suggests, it is a portrait, not an entertaining thriller, like "Salò". The horror lies in the realism of the recordings, the closeness of the scene. The film dispenses with the classic elements of suspense and instead shows a much more analytical picture.
It's a character study that denies clichés and offers some interesting thoughts on the portrayal of violence. With the use of videotape and the way in which Henry's escort is sexually aroused when he sees acts of violence on screen (in reality he humiliates and kills a woman), the film functions as a critique of how violence is portrayed. in the cinema (the man in the film is remembered). Works by Michael Haneke, especially "Funny Games" and "Benny's Video").
The empty places that Henry walks through are a reflection of his emotional loneliness (on a psychological level, the film has been praised for its faithful portrayal of a psychopath unable to relate to the world around him and to feelings of any kind). The gray winter and desaturated mood of Chicago are harbingers of the inevitable. Dont have a happy end.
As Roger Ebert put it, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer "is meant to illustrate, not entertain." In this he is absolutely right and, without meaning to, summarizes the similarity between this film and the last one by Pasolini.
5. The Virgin Fountain (Ingmar Bergman)
At first glance, Ingmar Bergman's 1960s film doesn't seem to have much in common with Pasolini's more controversial film. But there are some clear parallels to be found on this particular topic.
With Irreversible released over 15 years ago and Wes Craven's The Last House On The Left, which is actually a remake of The Virgin Spring released over 40 years ago, audiences today are used to the depiction of rape and murder. from The Virgin Spring. But in 1960 it was not common to show such terrible actions in the cinema.
The Virgin Spring was one of the first films to feature such a realistic and therefore disturbing illustration of three dodgers raping a girl. Like "Salò", the film struggled with age ratings in several countries.
In both films, the acts of violence—rape in Bergman's film, torture in every way imaginable in Pasolini's—are primarily for the pleasure of the perpetrators (albeit in The Virgin Spring). But there is a clear difference between these two films.
In "Salò" the violence does not result in the punishment of the perpetrators. In "The Virgin Spring", the three brothers are killed in an act of revenge by the father of the dead girl. While Bergman's film ends with the possibility of a pardon for him (a fact Bergman distanced himself from in the years after the film's release), there is no hope of any sort of acquittal in Saló, let alone justice.
Why is Salo so disturbing? ›
Salò has been banned in several countries, because of its graphic portrayals of rape, torture and murder—mainly of people thought to be younger than eighteen years of age.Is Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom based on true story? ›
Although Pasolini uses De Sade's "120 Days of Sodom" as scaffolding and as a pointed commentary, "Saló" is actually based on real events that happened in the Republic of Saló in Northern Italy, where a group of wealthy fascists abducted a large group of young men and women, went on to debase them, and after they were ...What is the meaning of 120 Days of Sodom? ›
120 Days of Sodom, a sexually explicit account of several months of debauchery, written in 1785 in French as Cent vingt journées de Sodome, ou l'école du libertinage by the Marquis de Sade while he was imprisoned in the Bastille.Is Salo the most disturbing movie ever? ›
Brutal, explicit, revolting, cruel, depraved, shocking, horrifying… Pasolini's loosely adaptation of a book described by its author as “the most impure tale ever written” might be, almost 45 years later, the most disturbing film of all time.Is Salo a masterpiece? ›
The notorious final film from Pier Paolo Pasolini, Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . It's also a masterpiece.What was the purpose of Salò? ›
(Salo was the headquarters for Mussolini's puppet Italian Social Republic from 1943 through 1945.) Their purpose is to make real whatever perversions they can imagine, and they have forced a group of naked young men and women to participate.What is Salò based off of? ›
Movies based on classic works of literature are rarely “better than the original” but Salò, always the anomaly, is very much an improvement on the Marquis de Sade's dreadful 1785 novel The 120 Days of Sodom that inspired it.What is the meaning of Salò movie? ›
The title Salò alludes to the puppet state where Mussolini was under the protection of the Nazi regime—but Il Duce is not the main focus here. Taking from the disgusting classic text of 120 Days of Sodom by the libertine French madman Marquis De Sade, Pasolini ran with the plotline of the original story.What does Sodom mean in the Bible? ›
/ (ˈsɒdəm) / noun. Old Testament a city destroyed by God for its wickedness that, with Gomorrah, traditionally typifies depravity (Genesis 19:24) this city as representing homosexuality. any place notorious for depravity.Why is Salò movie banned? ›
There was no question that Salo was going to run into censorship problems and subsequent banning around the world. It is not only extremely perverted, it features a strong political message of corruption and abuse of power. This subversiveness is another reason why the film ran into censorship difficulties worldwide.
Why did Sade write 120 days? ›
Sade states he wrote The 120 Days of Sodom over 37 days in 1785 while he was imprisoned in the Bastille. Being short of writing materials and fearing confiscation, he wrote it in tiny writing on a continuous roll of paper, made up of individual small pieces of paper smuggled into the prison and glued together.What is the number one most disturbing movie? ›
- # 1. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Wes Craven 1972.
- # 2. THE ANGELS' MELANCHOLIA. Marian Dora 2009.
- # 3. CANNIBAL. Marian Dora 2006.
- # 4. SINGAPORE SLING. Nikos Nikolaidis 1990.
- # 5. BEGOTTEN. E. ...
- # 6. SALÒ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM. ...
- # 7. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. ...
- # 8. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.
- ReGOREgitated Sacrifice (2008) TV-MA | 65 min | Horror. ...
- August Underground (2001 Video) Unrated | 70 min | Horror. ...
- Martyrs (2008) ...
- Slaughtered Vomit Dolls (2006 Video) ...
- A Serbian Film (2010) ...
- The Girl Next Door (2007) ...
- Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) ...
- Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
- ABCs of Death (2013) ...
- Inside (2007) ...
- Ichi the Killer (2001) ...
- Excision (2012) ...
- The Green Inferno (2013) ...
- Lifechanger (2018) ...
- Hereditary (2018) ...
- Midsommar (2019)
The Slavic word "salo" or "salanina" as applied to this type of food (it has other meanings as well) is often translated to English as "bacon" or "lard". Unlike lard, salo is not rendered. Unlike bacon, salo has little or no lean meat.Why Jaws is a masterpiece? ›
Spielberg doesn't serve up mass quantities of blood and gore but what makes Jaws work is the confident direction combined with stellar editing that draws the audience into relaxing at precisely all the wrong moments. Spielberg's meticulous attention to creating suspense recalls the best of Hitchcock.Is Salo a snuff film? ›
You can't watch Salo without thinking of the price Pasolini paid for making it, which lends the picture an added dimension of tragedy. This is, in a way, a bonafide snuff film – one that is destined to live forever.Where can you watch Salò? ›
Amazon.com: Salo Or The 120 Days of Sodom: Movies & TV.Where was Pier Paolo Pasolini born? › Is Salò illegal? ›
THE controversial film Salo has been outlawed in Australia yet again, with the Office of Film and Literature Classification voting to ban it last week. The film, with scenes of torture, extreme sexual violence, pedophilia and coprophagia, was made in 1975 and banned in Australia until 1993.
What are NFT's in movies? ›
What Are NFTs? These “tokens” are unique and immutable and can represent anything from digital art to real-world objects. An NFT is like an original piece of art: one of a kind. They're like a physical collector's item exclusively in the digital realm.What is cinematic story? ›
Cinematic storytelling, a story told primarily through the use of visual media. Cinematic techniques, a list of methods and techniques used in filmmaking.What is the true meaning of film? ›
Definitions of film. a form of entertainment that enacts a story by sound and a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement.What is the point of the movie Salo? ›
As a parable about the rise of fascism in Italy, Salo's aesthetic beauty gives a disarming sheen to the events that unfold: four aristocratic libertines kidnap 18 youths (nine boys and nine girls, all in their teens) and force them into a whole variety of unspeakable acts.What is so disturbing about a Serbian film? ›
According to the Review Board, "A Serbian Film could not be accommodated within the R18+ classification as the level of depictions of sexual violence, themes of incest, and depictions of child sexual abuse in the film has an impact which is very high and not justified by context."What disturbing things happen in midsommar? ›
- Sacrificing The Elders. ...
- Dani's Parents. ...
- Josh's Leg Sticking Out Of A Garden Plot. ...
- Ruben's Story. ...
- Dani's Trauma. ...
- Dani Sees Her Sister Appear Behind Her. ...
- Dani's Nightmare. ...
- Ritual Drowning.
As in many of his films, the beliefs Pasolini exhibits in Salò are inhibited by graphically depicted violence and sex. When these elements are solely visceral it is exploitation.Why was Salo created? ›
Pasolini intended Salò to constitute dismissals at several levels, and serve not merely as a meditation on European fascism (the town of Salò was the last outpost of Mussolini), although the film has much to say about the fascist mind of the past and perhaps, especially, the present.What is the purpose of the movie midsommar? ›
Midsommar is essentially a two and a half hour study of one woman's emotional journey towards emancipation from a toxic relationship. Like director Ari Aster's first film, Hereditary, it's a dark drama disguised as a terror flick. Unlike Hereditary, it has a happy ending.What happens to the newborn in A Serbian Film? ›
Marko's opinion in that Vukmir is a well educated man. Later, Vukmir shows Milo another one of his projects: a film of Raa helping a woman give birth to a baby girl; Raa then proceeds to rape the newborn in what the director calls "newborn porn".
Which movie was initially banned for being too disturbing? ›
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was so disturbing that several countries banned it including Chile, France, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, West Germany, Brazil, Singapore, and Ukraine. The U.K. also banned it and eventually released it without cuts in 2001.What age rating is A Serbian Film? ›
This version of the film - which had been cut by a total of four minutes and twelve seconds - met the BBFC's requirements and was classified at 18 without further cuts, on 28 October.What was the point of the disabled person in Midsommar? ›
The severely disabled prophet in 2019's “Midsommar” is named only “The Disabled” — and, like disabled characters from Leatherface to Jigsaw, he kills. Having a body that abled people consider somehow “wrong” is enough of a reason for villains to commit murder — often their only reason.What did the bear symbolize in Midsommar? ›
As we've pointed out before, Christian is sewn into the bear skin to show that he represents the "worst affekts" of the Harga, and is burned to purge the community of its flaws and sins.Why is there so much breathing in Midsommar? ›
The Hårga use breath to reinforce their insular group, to synchronize individuals, and to connect to outsiders like Dani. (Kenney also developed the sound of the "punctuation" breaths, Aster says.) Late in the film, Dani's emotional dam finally bursts and she begins howling in pain.Why is it called blaxploitation movies? ›
The name is a portmanteau of 'black' and 'exploitation. ' Blaxploitation films were produced independently and, typically, with extremely low budgets. Black-exploitation films were predominantly made by black crews for black audiences, though more widespread appeal around the world was found.Why is it called exploitation film? ›
Exploitation film is a type of cinema, often cheaply produced, that is designed to create a fast profit by referring to, or exploiting, contemporary cultural anxieties.What does cinematically mean? ›
: of, relating to, suggestive of, or suitable for motion pictures or the filming of motion pictures.