Monday, April 11, 2005

The Antechamber of Hell

I just watched the most disturbing movie I've ever seen.

Late last quarter, I couldn't decide what write on for my final paper. I eventually proposed a comparison of the "orgy of blood" aesthetic in Dario Argento's giallo films to the "cinema of repulsion" that Pier Paolo Pasolini employs in his film "Salo." Pasolini had once been a controversial yet beloved director in Italy, but following his "trilogy of life" films — "The Decameron," "The Canterbury Tales" and "1001 Nights" — he became disgusted with mainstream cinema, the Italian public and life in general The result: Though I watched the whole thing, I kind of which I hadn't. It's just awful — finely filmed and acted and all that, but just so genuinely appalling. I feel like I couldn't have sex for a long time without remembering some of those depraved a"Salo," a loose adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom.

The film's claim to fame lies not only in its depravity — though that's certainly a quality to be considered — but also in that Pasolini died shortly after he completed filming it. Conspiracy theories abound as to what lead to the death of Pasolini, a Catholic Marxist homosexual cultural icon, but officially he was murdered by a male prostitute who hit him with a car. Several times.

The films concerns the finals days of Mussolini's fascist rule in Italy. The small lakeside town of Salo became the Republic of Salo in late 1943. It was Mussolini's last remaining territory, and I've read that even today the name of the town is associated with debauchery and mass execution.

The plot is simple. Fascist soldiers kidnap Italian youths — male and female — and take them to a countryside villa. The film then splits into three parts: "The Circle of Obsession," which concerns sexual violation of the youths; "The Circle of Shit," which concerns the actual eating of feces; and finally "The Circle of Blood," in which all the remaining youths are systematically executed.

I never got to write the paper because the DVD of "Salo" came too late in the mail. I promised the professor for my Italian film class that she could have my copy, since I didn't have much use for a film so widely reported to be a reduction of humanity to its basest impulses.

cts I couldn't stop myself from watching. It's worse than "Irreversible" or "I Spit on Your Grave" or "Last House on the Left" or "Audition" or any of those. I think I even hated this movie more than "The Passion of the Christ." This actually stung my mind. I can't believe I watched this. I can't wait to get this movie out of my possession.

Though I watched the whole thing, I kind of which I hadn't. It's just awful — finely filmed and acted and all that, but just so genuinely appalling. I feel like I couldn't have sex for a long time without remembering some of those depraved acts I couldn't stop myself from watching. It's worse than "Irreversible" or "I Spit on Your Grave" or "Last House on the Left" or "Audition" or any of those. I think I even hated this movie more than "The Passion of the Christ." This actually stung my mind. I can't believe I watched this. I can't wait to get this movie out of my possession.

Jesus — what's wrong with me?

1 comment:

  1. The film you have mentioned sure sound like something to be avoided at all costs. I have experienced a few of those films myself, the ones in which you admire the artistic quality of the film-makers but end up hating it. The great examples are the works of Lars Von Tier, especially Dancer in the Dark, which I think is the worst representation of humanity ever. Requiem for a Dream comes close but I don't feel much hatred towards it, it just left me depressed, not total resentment like what Dancer in the Dark did.

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