Say hello to Salo?
May 9, 2010 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Salo has been discussed before here in the blue, but last week the Australian Classification Review Board determined that the DVD release can be classified R18+ (available, but with sale restricted to adults), if it includes 3 hours of additional material proposed by the potential distributor, Shock. In the decision, the Board notes that the additional material "facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film." While this decision is a win for anti-censorship campaigners and film buffs, it may not be the final chapter. The film has had a checkered history in Australia. The Board's media release is here (PDF).
posted by Artaud (32 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
That final link is in fact a doc., not a PDF. Sorry.
posted by Artaud at 8:24 PM on May 9, 2010


Set in the Nazi-controlled, northern Italian state of Salo in 1944, four dignitaries round up sixteen perfect specimens of youth and take them together with guards, servants and studs to a palace near Marzabotto. In addition, there are four middle-aged women: three of whom recount arousing stories whilst the fourth accompanies on the piano. The story is largely taken up with their recounting the stories of Dante and De Sade: the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. Following this, the youths are executed whilst each libertine takes his turn as voyeur.

Now this is a movie you can really rally around to fight censorship.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:28 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boy I gotta check Seek for jobs on the ACRB they get to look at some wicked cool shit.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:28 PM on May 9, 2010


Actually, the film sounds pretty interesting, if only as a concept:

Per interviews contemporary with the production of Salò, Pasolini intentionally set out to create a film unfit for a mass audience. He may have succeeded at creating a film that is inflexibly indigestible (different from being unwatchable, mind you), but at long last this critique of neo-consumer society, as he himself proclaimed it to be, is no longer un-buyable. I expect a lot of adventurous Netflix subscribers have been left scratching their heads this month.

posted by KokuRyu at 8:30 PM on May 9, 2010


Here is a PDF version of the final link in case anyone wishes to avoid Word.
posted by !Jim at 8:31 PM on May 9, 2010


I am usually the one taking weird movies to my friends. Sometimes you get a Liquid Sky, but most of the time you get a Salome's Last Dance. Every so often, there's a Legend of the Overfiend, which is just so over-the-top that discussion about the film is pointless next to question precisely where that film came from in the human psyche.

I got ahold of the Criterion version of this a few years back. I knew about it. I knew it was based loosely on 120 Days of Sodom, but given a new setting to match the director's background and his thoughts on the concentration of indulgence and depravity in fascist regimes — as if these things were conserved and, the more austerity measures and rigidity pushed upon the populace, the more the elite would engage in the most elaborate of perversions to somehow counterbalance it all.

I decided to watch it with one of my guinea pig friends, without giving him the benefit of the background. At the end, he to me and said, "That was entirely too much poo."

Oh, and that guy getting married, in the dress? Way too happy to be there.
posted by adipocere at 8:33 PM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've seen it, and I have to say that it's a ploddingly slow mess of a film. Maybe I'm just being all American and uncultured and impatient, but there are parts in Salo that felt slow, say, compared to 2001.
posted by oonh at 8:35 PM on May 9, 2010


What a fuss for such an utterly boring movie.
posted by item at 8:47 PM on May 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Human Centipede - Episode I: The Chrysalis
posted by KokuRyu at 8:54 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meh. Let it be distributed, and keep an eye on the freaks who watch it. Australia is heading 1984. Might as well do it right.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on May 9, 2010


Turgid Dahlia, by all means, apply.

I knew a woman who worked in an administrative capacity for the old Office of Film and Literature Classification and she said that the actual experience of being one of Australia's censors was, with occasional moments of privilege (being the first people in the country to see Lord of the Rings! Playing GTA IV when no-one else had it!), mind-numbingly tedious, involving watching days and days of film and video you'd never sit down yourself to watch in a million years.

For every Pasolini masterpiece there's a whole lot of Dora the Explorer and steam train documentary.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:12 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, it's a step. Kind of silly, really, that we need all this supplemental material to prove it's culturally and artistically relevant so the government will permit sale to adults. A similarly ridiculous standard applies to videogames in Australia as well.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:22 PM on May 9, 2010


For some reason I always thought this film was called "Salaud"

Go figure.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:41 PM on May 9, 2010


Yeah, count me in the "boring as hell" group. I'm not even sure if I watched it all the way to the end, I just remember it being s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w and punctuated with occasional coprophagia. And I'm not some meathead that needs 'splosions an' boobies to pay attention, it's slow even for an "art film".
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:45 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Salo does in fact have boobies, but they're cancelled out by all the weiners, butts and creepy sadomasochism)
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:46 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


For some idea of your new watching habits if you're an Australian censor, here's last week's recently-classified list.
THE TWISTED WHISKERS SHOW: PARTY ANIMALS Film - Sale/Hire G 07/05/2010
THE WILKINSONS Film - Sale/Hire M 07/05/2010
TOP GEAR SERIES 12 Film - Sale/Hire PG 07/05/2010
WHO'S THE BOSS? A XXX PARODY Film - Sale/Hire R 18+ 07/05/2010
Who's the what the oh dear
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:42 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've seen this movie, rented it from this really cool store that rents only VHS tapes. Well, I guess my girlfriend picked it out--we have this thing where we hate knowing anything about a movie before we watch it. After watching this crap of a movie though, we have since abandoned that practice and take a quick glance at a plot summary--just to prevent us from ever renting a movie like this again.

It is not only disgusting, like others have said, it is mind-numbingly boring. I'd rather watch paint dry, in slow motion. There are very few movies I do not watch all the way through, and this was one of them. Literally, I can count them on one hand, and I've seen lots of movies. So this would have to go down as in the bottom 0.1% in my book. Dude, Where's My Car? may be the only movie I've seen that's worse.
posted by stevenstevo at 12:55 AM on May 10, 2010


For every Pasolini masterpiece there's a whole lot of... steam train documentary.

A. Where do I sign up?
B. And you get paid for this?

As for Salo, I recommend watching it on a 4chan-related video stream with IRC chat. Quite possibly the most entertaining evening I've ever had.
posted by clorox at 1:13 AM on May 10, 2010


the actual experience of being one of Australia's censors was [...] mind-numbingly tedious, involving watching days and days of film and video you'd never sit down yourself to watch in a million years.

Yeah, that's exactly what I was told by a woman I know who did that for a while. Hated it. Endless drivel to sit through, just in case a snippet of sideboob might nudge a program from PG to M.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:22 AM on May 10, 2010


Who's the what the oh dear

There's a whole subgenre of porn springing up in the last year or two based on old TV shows. I learned of this recently when my best friend excitedly begged me to find her a torrent of "This Ain't Happy Days", a Happy Days-based porn (I did, but haven't watched it). There's also a Brady Bunch one, and probably others. Before you say it's not anything new and porn has been recycling popular movies and TV shows for years, true, but it's usually currently-popular stuff - the point of these is that they're retro.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:20 AM on May 10, 2010


not boring. not slow. and not unenticing.

salo is wonderful. it's a beautiful piece of work and perhaps one of the most thoughtful meditations on the depravities of the state ever made. to watch it is to learn of the harrowings of the power class.

get it. watch it. and learn. or be a turd!
posted by artof.mulata at 2:20 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Arnott's is launching a new line of SALO crackers to celebrate.



Wait. This isn't Vegemite!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:58 AM on May 10, 2010


Tastes just the same, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:02 AM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just watched this movie on Saturday.
posted by sciurus at 5:10 AM on May 10, 2010


DecemberBoy: "Before you say it's not anything new and porn has been recycling popular movies and TV shows for years, true, but it's usually currently-popular stuff - the point of these is that they're retro."

Had this trend started in my day, I guess we'd have had I Fuck Lucy and The Dicks and Dykes Show.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:28 AM on May 10, 2010


not boring. not slow. and not unenticing.

I guess I'll be the second person to admit liking it. The slow pace works for the film, as does the parts that are meant to be shocking. It's an art project, and it's trying so hard to shock and offend that I have to smile and like it.

(Salo does in fact have boobies, but they're cancelled out by all the weiners, butts and creepy sadomasochism)

Which is of course pretty much exactly the point. If he had wanted to make a movie with lots of cheap appeal, there would just have been T and A. But if the goal is to complicate and subvert the titillation, then the "weiners, butts and creepy sadomasochism," along with the poop, makes a lot more sense.

But whether the film is good or bad, I guess I don't understand why the film censorship people won't just give it an adults-only rating and call it a day. Adults are should be allowed to make decisions for themselves about objectionable material. While I'm fine with banning materials of such unmitigated nastiness as child porn, something that is made with consenting adults and is pretty much just "yucky" should be left up to the individual to watch or not watch.
posted by Forktine at 6:27 AM on May 10, 2010


I couldn't even make it through the entire trailer, so I guess I'll be leaving this off my Netflix queue.
posted by desjardins at 6:44 AM on May 10, 2010


I remember the perhaps apocryphal tale of Criterion releasing Salo on DVD, and because it was on Criterion it somehow made it into Best Buy's supply chain and ending on the shelves before it was noticed and yanked. The idea of this fairly obscure art house film ending up in the most mundane box stores across the country, sitting perhaps next to a Friends Season 2 DVD set, warms my heart.

While Salo certainly is meant to offend, it is a serious film that was wonderfully shot. Ennio Morricone wrote the score and it was produced by Grimaldi whose resume speaks for itself. Surprisingly YouTube actually has some videos that really set the scene of Salo without, obviously, going into the grotesque:

- Here's a short that should give you an idea of the wonderful cinematography and costume design.

- And here's the final scene which can only be described as Lynchian.

I was discussing this film with a friend who had an interesting theory that fits the film but never seems brought up in any discussions. There was a huge lack of trust among European intellectuals in post-war Europe (Mandelbrot talks about this at length). Looked through this lens, the entire film is an homage to the naive trust in authority figures, indeed the narrative is progressed by a prostitute (dressed as an aristocrat) telling the most vile and disgusting stories to a captive audience. This might seem obvious at first but it should be noted that the film doesn't simply say there are some bad people, all authority figures are shown as corrupt ... there's no redemption here.
posted by geoff. at 7:21 AM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


The only thing sadistic about Salo is its relationship to its audience.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2010


i guess this is the wrong place to say i'm still waiting for

Harold & Kumar go to White Asshole: the XXX parody
but oh my goodness gracious such a good idea.
posted by Hammond Rye at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2010


While I'm fine with banning materials of such unmitigated nastiness as child porn, something that is made with consenting adults and is pretty much just "yucky" should be left up to the individual to watch or not watch
Well to be fair, the job of the classifications board is to differentiate between unmitigated nastiness and simple poor taste in the first place. That's the other thing my friend told me about censorship work—because the Office (now Board) has a remit to classify materials siezed by police for court purposes, you end up watching a fair bit of utterly vile, criminal, material.

I wouldn't do it, not for all the free blockbuster previews in the world.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:13 PM on May 10, 2010


The only thing sadistic about Salo is its relationship to its audience.

Well, I wouldn't say that it's super-friendly to its barely-legal actors who certainly were not exploited in any way.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:59 PM on May 10, 2010


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