“Pasolini wants to replace the word “God” as Sade used it, with the word “power”, since the sadists are always the powerful ones. The main protagonists of the “Salo…” are a banker (president), a duke, a bishop and a judge (magistrate) – the representatives of a constituted might. Pasolini wants to illustrate the relationship between the exploiters and exploited, to show that in both sadism and power politics human beings become objects, bodies become wares, and that our economic organization, throughout history, has tended to be basically sadistic.”
Gideon Bachmann

“In our fight to raise our social standards we become dictators, power seekers. That is why Fascism has a universal appeal”
Gideon Bachmann

“What we are doing by trying to destroy our traditions is a descent to the greatest conformism in history”
Gideon Bachmann

“All the people here have worked with Pasolini before and carry great esteem for him, but they shake their heads prophesying that this film will never pass censorship in Italy. ‘Pasolini also said that in Italy they just store up information to take us to court and that we must build up a reputation for film abroad’.”
Gideon Bachmann


Introduction to the camp of Salo or prolog to the 120 days of Sodom


Ah, how pleasant it is to offer the consumers a good good and to deserve gratitude, reward, bonuses and extra money. Besides – to please the consumers is itself a pleasurable altruistic feeling.


The importance of the above still is in the presence of some strong and wealthy people in… the background. We immediately see the two leading ladies and at least the Duke and the President. Why are they just somewhere in the background and don’t dominate the foreground? It’s because even fascists respect rituals, and rituals have something, as if, “democratic” about them. Of course, rituals aren’t democratic, they’re obviously despotic – but they’re metaphors for people of power leading the masses. They’re, as if, the very will of the leaders even if leaders themselves aren’t part of the ritual. In other words, for the obedient people to be part of a ritual is to train themselves in obedience. It’s, as if, the ritual is always king. In the shot above the ritual we observe is representation of the sacred nature of marriage – we see Sergio (Sergio Fascetti) in a bride‘s gown, he is chosen by one of the leading fascists – the magistrate (Umberto P. Quintavalle) as his bride.


And now the consumerist pleasure is completely turned on – fascist leaders have the freedom and pleasure to assess attractive body and compare it with another ones – to choose or to refuse it. The nude human being will be refused and punished or accepted and rewarded by the fascist consumerists’ use.


Don’t believe for a second that the marriage ceremony procedure created by the fascists will let this young couple we see here be left in peace. We remember Sergio who already was a bride of one of the fascists (shot 3). Now Sergio and Renata (we see her humiliated in previous shot) are named husband and wife only to be soon theatrically separated and used for the pleasures of the fascist leaders and their helpers (President, Duke, Bishop, Magistrate and even police guards).


What is the difference between the first – previous still – less crowded version of the wedding ritual and the second version we see here [right above], which fascist leadership stages, where Renata (Renata Moar) and Sergio (Sergio Fascetti) are much closer to each other and where there are more nude bodies around them? The point is the devilish imagination of the fascist bosses. Sergio and Renata don’t have any (amorous) fluids between them. But fascists want them to fall in love with one another! Don’t underestimate the rich and educated fascists! Their imagination is quite intricate. They wanted Renata and Sergio to develop romantic need in and sexual fixation on one another just to tear them apart from each other in proper moment – for their own emotional and sexual pleasures. They want for themselves not only Renata and Sergio’s youth, but their mutual love too. At the end of the film Pasolini will give us the chance to see what they will do with these people.


These boys have to demonstrate the fascist bosses how excellent, good, almost good, not good enough, inadequate, disappointing or defected their sexual organs are.


Here, we see the President manually investigating the quality of the young girl’s sexual attractiveness.


Using a witty combination of procedures the Bishop demonstrates to the girls and boys – how dedicatedly and competently they should serve the elder fascists erotically and sexually.


Among various pedagogical lessons was methodical training – how to communicate and deliver exciting sexual massages to the bodily organs of the adult men with capricious sexual needs.


In some pedagogical séances dedicated to the impeccability of female beauty the scandalous situations and unforgivable things could take place – like we see here one attractive girl had a missing tooth! Corresponding punishment was immediately imposed on the girl and the woman responsible for her appearance.


Among stimulating surprises there was an event when the President (yes, the same omnipresent President – Aldo Valetti) had a wide and versatile audience enjoy, not without some shock (even fascist audience can be sexually shocked), to view his fleshy and freshly nude buttocks. Girls and boys-students had to fake admiration, while the guards-collaborationists felt refreshed and even generally stimulated.


The point of a scene like this one is not the unconditional assertion of the pleasure of sexual possessiveness (this sacred right the fascists got by the privilege of being rich and powerful), but the very refinement of the procedure of choosing the sexual object. The forte point is in the ritual of recognizing the alive sexual good potentially capable of providing multifaceted perfection of sexual service.


Among serious events in Salo camp was a competition for winning the title of the most beautiful buttocks and assholes under the monitoring of the Duke, Bishop and Magistrate. These three super-experts had to resolve a complicated scientific problem of the inevitability of subjective factors in the very reaction on the mentioned parts of the human body and the very taste for them connected with proclivity for sodomizing girls or boys. In spite of moments of uncertainty and disagreements respectable jury tried not to mix aesthetic and gender-based factors in their assessments and be not-prejudiced.


Another “interesting” competition was connected with the ability and the courage of the (enslaved) students of “Salo University” to impersonate hungry dogs not only by appearance (for example by barking and trying to fight with one another) but by essence – the capability to eat dog’s food and attack one another as dogs angered by hunger do.


Here the omnipresent President again, this time posing in front of Fernand Leger’s painting and enjoying his freedom from bodily particularisms and limitations and for the freedom to command and manipulate the human beings in need of fascist pedagogy.


The girls are waiting for the judgment of the forms and shapes of their excretal droppings – did they defecate at the right hour or in a conformist manner they have followed their sensations and were unable to postpone their relief? Spontaneous defecating and urinating are not allowed in Salo and is severely punishable.


Leading fascists demanded from Renata and Sergio to have sexual intercourse right in front of their greedy and cynical eyes. How to overcome the couple’s natural shame – they’re not porn stars. The girl and boy didn’t know that even if they could be able to do this, these monsters would not let it happen and will tear them apart from each other.


The demanding shouts of the bosses made Sergio and Renata jump up. They’re not able to entertain those who wants entertainment by any price. In a second the bosses will jump at them like predators on the prey.


After pretending innocence – as if they just want to watch the first marital intercourse between the boy and girl and wallow in their emotional and physical vibrations – the Duke and the President jumped at the imprisoned young bodies to kidnap the shy vitality of the sexual prisoners. Now the Duke and the President are ready for sexual feast.


Fascist treatment of the world


Apotheosis of fascist sexuality as greed for natural resources including human bodies and souls. On the left we see the President, Bishop and the Duke, and on the right the armed guards and torturers of the captured young people trapped in the camp of Salo or the 120 days of Sodom.