17. Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom

I’m back after a lengthy pause, and making up for lost time with one of Criterion’s most notoriously disturbing films.  Director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final film is a Marquis de Sade novel relocated to the final days of Fascist Italy.  It depicts the kidnapping of eighteen teenage boys and girls who are taken to a remote villa to become sex slaves.  If only sex were the worst of it.  There is an entire section of the film aptly titled the Circle of Shit, and I can’t describe the horror of making it through those scenes only to discover the next portion is called the Circle of Blood.  The four tormentors of the film do everything in their imagination to degrade and torture, which functions as a shocking analogy to fascism, and makes it impossible as a viewer not to feel guilty (or slightly nauseous).  That being said, I find it hilarious that the DVD was a gift from my dad who didn’t want it in the house anymore.  He claims it was given to him by a friend who felt the same way.  Call it the Circle of Re-Gifting.

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