There are few artists like Pasolini who have traveled to the outer riches of language and self, to the peripheries of the known world and the outlying islands of the ancient and the mythical, to bring us face-to-face with the present and ourselves.
Sam Rohdie

Social struggles are also linguistic ones. Poetry, in the broadest sense of Poetry, could be made to enter into struggles against dominant voices. It belonged to a struggle to be heard, struggle for a voice, for language as a critical practice, against language as an instrument of coercion and power, for languages and voices denied, repressed, forgotten, lost, eradicated, marginalized.
Sam Rohdie

The film’s images of evil have been both highlighted and exorcised by the strength and sublimity of Pasolini’s style.
Sam Rohdie

“Salo” was designed to show not the joy of sex, but its commodification and reification, of the human body in the unreal world created by neo-capitalism.

Sam Rohdie

Pasolini (in the center) is explaining the pompousness of the guards’ suspicions and how to try to confuse them while they’re checking you out

Pasolini is explaining to Paolo Bonacelly how the character he plays in the film (the Duke) finds a way to feel and see himself as a highly sophisticated individual while in reality he is intellectually very primitive and emotionally rude.

Pasolini has just shown the actors how the concrete scene of torture should develop and now he is going to shoot it himself.

Pasolini is trying to elaborate for Paolo Bonacelli that the Duke (whom he impersonates in the film), is proud of himself as a culturally “educated” and a person of refined taste because he likes to quote the great thinkers of 19th century. By this ruse he justifies his predatory nature as a “professional” sexual connoisseur, consumer of young bodies. Duke’s high social position and huge wealth opens all the doors and corners for him.

Pasolini points out to Paolo Bonacelli that the Duke’s “aristocratic” distance from the people not only attracts their respect for him but also stimulates their vulnerability in front of his seductive power.

Pier Paolo admires how Helene Surgere (Signora Vassari) is improvising right in front of the camera the dance of catching the stars from the sky. Signora Vassari is one of the monstrous ladies among the fascist leadership of Salo, whose role it is to seduce and humiliate the young captives of the both sexes.

Pasolini is explaining to the nude Bishop (Giorgio Castaldi) and his helpers prepared and ready for torturing the girls and the boys – how to look not only “inspired” but also “pragmatically realistic” – matter-of-factly.

Pasolini is registering with the camera the predicament of the girls locked and manipulated in Salo – they are regularly checked: did they excrete (all together) at a “proper time” rather than excreting individually – anarchically that is whenever they feel they want to relieve themselves.