Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

02.03.2005Filmi

There are some movies you see. And forget.
There are some movies you see. And remember.
There are some movies you see. And you want to forget them.
There are some movies you should see.
There are some movies you must see.

Now, how`s that for an introduction that does not say diddly-squat, huh?

My first reference to this movie was the “Mein Teil” video from Rammstein. In it, there`s a scene where the members of the band are paraded around on leashes, like dogs. Walking the streets.

I saw the trailer for “120 days of Sodom” and there was almost exact scene in the movie.

The plot of the movie is simple and plain, the movies is 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.

Not exactly a family movie I`d say.

The message of the movie is clear. Power corrupts. Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is actually a character study of people in charge. People in control.

The movies is full of disturbing scenes and excesses, things from sexual violence, torture, to other practices of sexual violence and murder. Not exactly an uplifting movie but it does manages to show the mind frames in which some people operate. How things are not absolute but relative. How one event can be perceived through many different points of view. And how everything lies in the eyes of the beholder.

There are people in forums discussing and wondering how gruesome this movie really is. How explicit the scenes are and if anyone can provide descriptions of them. And that kind of attitude scares me more than the actual film. The actual thing.

There is something in human nature that gravitates towards violence. Towards pain and suffering. That seeks out destruction instead of creation. Night instead of day. That is intrigued by it and wants to see it. Wants to feel it. Things you aren`t allow to do often appeal to you most. The higher the social norm, the more we wish to break it. Defy it.

It tells us something about our world. About the cultural mind-frame we posses. And use. And eventually abuse. And with abusing it, we are proving that we are in fact…humans.

And as the Rammstein sing…”Denn du bist, was du isst“.