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) explains the pompous suspiciousness of the guards and how to try to confuse them while they are checking you up


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


Pasolini has just depicted for the actors how the concrete scene of torturing should develop and now he is shooting it himself.


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


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, seducing and then humiliating the young captives of both sexes.


Pasolini is explaining to the nude Bishop (Giorgio Castaldi) and his helpers prepared and ready for the torturing girls and 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 when they feel they want to relieve themselves.