Pier Paolo Pasolini

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom

The notorious final film from Pier Paolo Pasolini, Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . It’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • "Salò": Yesterday and Today, a thirty-three-minute documentary featuring interviews with director Pier Paolo Pasolini, actor-filmmaker Jean-Claude Biette, and Pasolini friend Nineto Davoli
  • Fade to Black, a twenty-three-minute documentary featuring directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, and John Maybury, as well as scholar David Forgacs
  • The End of "Salò", a forty-minute documentary about the film’s production
  • Video interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and director and film scholar Jean-Pierre Gorin
  • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by Neil Bartlett, Breillat, Naomi Greene, Sam Rohdie, Roberto Chiesi, and Gary Indiana, and excerpts from Gideon Bachmann’s on-set diary

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • "Salò": Yesterday and Today, a thirty-three-minute documentary featuring interviews with director Pier Paolo Pasolini, actor-filmmaker Jean-Claude Biette, and Pasolini friend Nineto Davoli
  • Fade to Black, a twenty-three-minute documentary featuring directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, and John Maybury, as well as scholar David Forgacs
  • The End of "Salò", a forty-minute documentary about the film’s production
  • Video interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and director and film scholar Jean-Pierre Gorin
  • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by Neil Bartlett, Breillat, Naomi Greene, Sam Rohdie, Roberto Chiesi, and Gary Indiana, and excerpts from Gideon Bachmann’s on-set diary

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom
Cast
Paolo Bonacelli
Duke
Giorgio Cataldi
Bishop
Umberto P. Quintavalle
Magistrate
Aldo Valletti
President
Caterina Boratto
Signora Castelli
Elsa De Giorgi
Signora Maggi
Hélène Surgère
Signora Vaccari
Sonia Saviange
Pianist
Credits
Director
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Writer
Pier Paolo Pasolini
With collaboration from
Sergio Citti
Producer
Alberto Grimaldi
Musical coordinator
Ennio Morricone
Director of photography
Tonino Delli Colli
Editor
Nino Baragli
Production design
Dante Ferretti
Costume design
Danilo Donati

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Salò

By John Powers

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Because You Can Never Have Enough  . . .
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On the anniversary of his birth, we look back on the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the most radical figures of Italian cinema.

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Gaspar Noé's Movie Mania

On the night of the New York premiere of Gaspar Noé’s controversial new film Love, his 3D cinematic sex odyssey, the French-Argentine provocateur stopped by Criterion with the film’s star, Aomi Muyock.

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An Homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini
Three and a Half Minutes in Heaven with Wim
Salò: A Cinema of Poetry

In Pasolini’s last interview, just before his murder, and prior to the release of Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, he identified himself simply as a poet. His most well-known essay on the cinema was entitled “Il cinema di poesia.” In his writin…

By Sam Rohdie


Salò: The Present as Hell

“In the trilogy, I evoked the ghosts of characters from my earlier, realist films. Not to denounce them, obviously, but out of such a violent love for ‘lost time’ that it came out not as a condemnation of one particular human condition but of e

By Roberto Chiesi


Salò: The Written Movie

The title card that appears in the opening credits of Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, Pasolini’s “Recommended Bibliography,” seems to signal to the viewer that the filmmaker’s intentions can’t be fully understood without a familiarity with…

By Gary Indiana


Watching Salò

Is the true measure of a film’s greatness its unforgettability? Conjured up in darkened rooms that mimic the intimate circumstances of our normally private dreams and fantasies, vast in scale and impact, the images of celluloid are of course notori…

By Neal Bartlett


Salò: I, Monster

It’s always the same when I tackle Pasolini—the first encounter escapes me. Pasolini doesn’t come at you head-on; it’s more like embroidery, which can seem simple, unrelentingly repetitive. So it went the first time I saw Salò. Of course, th…

By Catherine Breillat


Salò: Breaking the Rules

The year before he made Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, Pasolini hinted at the scandalous contours his last film would assume. In the course of a 1974 debate, he declared that now, as never before, “artists must create, critics defend, and democra…

By Naomi Greene


Ciao, Caterina
Ciao, Caterina

You may not know the name, but you know the face. Caterina Boratto, known for her indelible performances in such Italian cinema classics as 8½, Juliet of the Spirits, and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has died in Rome. In a career that spann…

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Singing Morricone’s Praises
Singing Morricone’s Praises

The eighty-one-year-old Ennio Morricone has been composing hypnotic music for film since the early 1960s, for projects ranging from spaghetti westerns (his whistling, woodwindy five-note theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of the most rec…

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Pasolini’s Rome

Ian Thomson has written a fascinating piece on Pier Paolo Pasolini for the Times Online, on the occasion of the publication of two books on the Italian filmmaker-writer-poet: John David Rhodes’s new study of Pasolini’s Rome, Stupendous, Miserable…


Explore

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer, Director

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ability to simultaneously embrace conflicting philosophies—he was both a Catholic and a Marxist; a modern-minded, openly gay man who looked to the distant past for inspiration and comfort; a staunch leftist who at one point in the late sixties infamously spoke out against left-wing student protests (sympathizing instead with the working-class police)—was matched by the multifariousness of his professional life, as a filmmaker, poet, journalist, novelist, playwright, painter, actor, and all-around intellectual public figure. What he is best known for, however, is undoubtedly his subversive body of film work. He was a student of the written word, and among his earliest movie jobs was writing additional dialogue for Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (1957). Soon he was directing his first film, Accattone (1961), a tale of street crime whose style and content greatly influenced the debut feature of his friend Bernardo Bertolucci, La commare secca (1962), for which Pasolini also supplied the original story. The outspoken and always political Pasolini’s films became increasingly scandalous—even, to some minds, blasphemous—from the gritty reimagining of the Christ story The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to the bawdy medieval tales in his Trilogy of Life (1971–1974). Tragically, Pasolini was found brutally murdered weeks before the release of his final work, the grotesque, Marquis de Sade–derived Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), still one of the world’s most controversial films.