Welcome to our discussion on the controversial film “Salo.” Delve into the intriguing question: Is Salo based on a true story? Let’s uncover the truth behind this dark and disturbing masterpiece.
Is Salo Based On A True Story?
Is it any good? Well, I must admit that I am not a great admirer of Pasolini. Personally, I find his movies quite unbearable, and “Salò” is no exception. However, unlike his Trilogy of Life (“The Decameron,” “Canterbury Tales,” “Arabian Nights”), where he displayed some flair and humor, this particular film takes a different approach.
Pasolini’s style has always leaned towards the ponderous side. In “Salò,” it becomes heavily oppressive and didactic. The film utilizes static tableaux-style framing, deliberately slow pacing, devoid of any humor, and features actors who embody concepts rather than fully fleshed-out characters. While Pasolini uses De Sade’s “120 Days of Sodom” as a framework and a pointed commentary, “Salò” is actually inspired by real events that occurred in the Republic of Salò in Northern Italy. During that time, a group of wealthy fascists abducted numerous young men and women, subjecting them to degradation before ultimately killing them. Pasolini stages each scene as a demonstration of degradation and cruelty, unflinchingly capturing the horrific events.
Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of the author and may not reflect the views of others.
Were the actors in Salo hurt?
Despite the somber tone of the film, actress Hélène Surgère, in an interview included in the Criterion Collection box set, revealed that the atmosphere on the set was surprisingly light-hearted. Surgère emphasized that none of the teenage actors were harmed or traumatized during the production. In fact, the presence of inexperienced teenage actors brought a sense of happiness and even fun to the set, with the cast frequently engaging in playful pranks. Surgère also mentioned that the true nature of the film was only realized during the premiere when the filmmakers saw the finished product. She noted that the movie truly came together in the editing room, and the grimness of the final result was a revelation to the creators themselves.
Is the movie Salo illegal?
The film did not face a ban in the United States and received a limited release in October 1977. However, it was banned in Ontario, Canada. In 1994, a noteworthy incident occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio, where an undercover policeman rented the film from a local gay bookstore and subsequently arrested the owners on charges of “pandering”. In response, a group of prominent artists, including Martin Scorsese and Alec Baldwin, along with scholars, rallied together and signed a legal brief arguing for the film’s artistic merit. Eventually, the Ohio state court dismissed the case due to the violation of the owners’ Fourth Amendment rights by the police. The court did not directly address the question of whether the film was obscene, as it was dismissed on procedural grounds..
While Salò may not be directly based on a true story, it draws inspiration from real historical events and the writings of the Marquis de Sade. Pasolini’s intent was to craft a scathing critique of power, fascism, and the degradation of human morality. The film continues to provoke thought, debate, and discomfort among viewers, exemplifying the lasting impact of Pasolini’s artistic vision.