by Dijana Knežević
The grotesque implementation of Marquis de Sade's novel "120 Days of Sodom" (O Le 120 Giorante Di Sodoma) is a film about which for almost forty years there has been a strong debate. The reason for this is the brave genius of the director in his attempt to show us the atmosphere from the darkest depths of human nature.
One of the most powerful of Pazolini's "tools" here is the context and time of the film itself: the 1944th and the arrangement of Mussolini's, fascist Italy (as the film itself says "We Fascists are the only real anarchists") and the blasphemy and misery of distorted minds in the free space .
The main actors, four representatives of the authorities (Duke - Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, President Aldo Valletti and Umberto Paolo Quintavalle), with the help of fascist units, capture the group Young people and imprison them in a luxurious villa. They become former prostitutes in their old age (prostitutes Castelli - Caterina Boratto, Prostitute Vaccaari - Helena Surgere and Magi Maggi - Elsa De Giorgi) which tell young prisoners stories from their own experience, and, based on these stories, the film itself is structured, divided into three parts:
Antechamber of Hell
Circle of Obssesions
Circle of Shit
Circle of Blood
The inspiration for such a structure, Pazolini found in the "Divine Comedy" (La Divina Commedia) by Dante Alighieri (Dante Alighieri).
Although in the original Marquis de Sad has placed his novel a couple of centuries earlier, Pazolini's ingenious idea of transferring the film's work to the time of the most monstrous in the history of mankind has absolutely brought forth the fruit.
Visually and emotionally, this Pazolini film might resemble the worst-ever ever-fictitious thing, but its artistic and aesthetic value is more than noticeable.
For a deeper understanding of this story, it is important, even partially, to know the work of Marquis de Sade, whose story is directed and directed. Namely, in each of his novels, the "role" is more or less the same: the very top of the social scale that impairs those listed below. The distortion of the Sadow's mind found the most incredible ways to explain this, but the very essence would lie in (De Sade to say) the fact that there is no God, but only nature, and nature, besides beauty, creates destruction. How life is governed by the laws of nature, claims that it is clear that the law of the stronger must be respected. Man's destructive impulses are also part of nature and must be distributed. In his novels, this usually happens in the form of the most horrible (mostly sexual) tortures and revulsions. What is emphasized in his novels, and what is in the film, it would be said, "propelled" to be transmitted (in De Sade's always emphasized) the importance of human unbridledness, in some way (and again, first of all, sexual).
The movie "Salo" is considered one of the most controversial films of the twentieth century. It's not by chance, because rape scenes, fecal eating, cutting off language, homosexuality, etc. Leave the viewer, and not only the one with a weak stomach, maximally disgusted. Nevertheless, this Pazin's directing achievement should in no way be viewed outside the context in which it is located. Whether we do this, apart from directing and photographic genius, we will remain purely grotesque, devoid of aesthetic values. Pasolines in this film represent the world, a cold, hopeless, apocalyptic era in which evil wins, but also implicitly suggests that such a regime can not survive (which is why the action is located in the area of the Hall). He deliberately rejects the subtle approach and choices explicit (to him and, in all likelihood, irritating), portraying fascism as a transformation that, at the same time, refuses and attracts.
Here, at the same time (as is often the case in De Sad's novels), it could also be said of a nature that is long overdue, most often imposed, imposed social norms, and becomes distorted and in constant search for the ways in which their interference could channel. In this case, this results in total sexual harassment, revenge on innocent victims, etc.
While prostitutes, in their enthralling costumes, tell the worst stories of their sexual and business life, the victims (most often) are seduced, humiliated, on the floor, until some of the main actors, encouraged by the "hot" story, take it and do not use it for The "revival" of what has just been listened to.
The epilogue of the film is also the most stressful and almost resembles culmination, rather than the epilogue:
The four commanders choose young men and girls who were not absolutely obedient, and the guards take them to a nearby yard and kill them in the worst ways. The commanders, almost indifferently, are looking at the binoculars, from the remote room, that scene. An aggravated pianist, who played and worked for them, spotted a scene and committed suicide by dropping from the window. The sound of "Carmina Burana" by Karl Orff (Carl Orff) is radiating from all the time. After all, two young guards change the station on the radio, play the happy song and cheerfully, and still indifferently, dance. One asks another for his girlfriend's name. "Margarita," he replied.
These final scenes, accompanied only by calming music, deepen the damages that the scenes themselves bring.
Whatever, even today, criticized and forbidden was, this Pazolini film is absolutely a huge artistic achievement (at the same time, the last ones that the author worked, because it was just before the premiere of the film and he was killed). Only the "revival" of the novel, and even of the Garden, reflects a great knowledge of the director's work, but also of the aesthetically fascinating experience and appreciation of reality. Imminently, the filthy picture of Italy and, in general, the humanity, which Pazolini sent to the world with this film, is also a jewel in the sea of cinema, which gives us a chance to see the reality through absolutely black, and with its grotesque glorious, glasses.
Translated from Serbian by Dejan Stojkovski
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