Salò (120 Days of Sodom) (film)

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Great Britain

Date: 1976

Region: Europe

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Film Video


Pasolini3.jpg

Artist: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Confronting Bodies: British Board of Film Censors; James Ferman, BBFC secretary

Dates of Action: January 1976

Location: Great Britain

Description of Artwork: Pier Paolo Pasonlini's 1975 movie Salo is a brutal depiction of fascism. It resets de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom in Mussolini's Italy and follows a group of decadent fascists as they kidnap teenagers, take them to a secluded mansion, and consequently torture them in a sadistic sexual manner.

The Incident: First, the film was rejected by the BBFC, considered to be "gross indecency." This stamp of disapproval prevented any defense on the basis of artistic or cultural merit. When the film was screened in its entirety in 1977, police raided the theater, seized the print, and threatened the theater's owners. In order to avoid the film being condemned by the Obscene Publications Act, Ferman cut almost a full hour of footage.

Results of Incident: Finally, in 2000, the uncut, original version of the film was verified for distribution in theaters and on video in Great Britain.

Source: [[1]]




United States

Date: 1994

Region: North America

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Film Video


Artist: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Confronting Bodies: Cincinnati police

Dates of Action: June 1994

Location: Cincinnati Ohio

Description of Artwork: Pier Paolo Pasonlini's 1975 movie Salo is a brutal depiction of fascism. It resets de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom in Mussolini's Italy and follows a group of decadent fascists as they kidnap teenagers, take them to a secluded mansion, and consequently torture them in a sadistic sexual manner.

The Incident: An undercover policeman rented the video from the Pink Pyramid, a gay/lesbian bookstore, and charged the store with pandering obscenity.

Results of Incident: A team of scholars and artists (including Alec Baldwin and Martin Scorsese) composed and signed a legal brief detailing the film's artistic and political value. The case ended up being dismissed on the basis of Fourth Amendment violations; the court did not tackle the question of whether or not the film qualifies as obscene.

Source: Robert B. Chatelle (Cambridge, MA) from News accounts, bookstore manager, bookstore lawyer.




Australia

Date: 1975-present

Region: Australia

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Film Video


Artist: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922 - 1975); Shock Entertainment

Confronting Bodies: Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification

Dates of Action: 1975 - 1993, 1997 through the present

Location: Australia

Description of Artwork: Salo (or 120 Days in Sodom) is set in Italy during World War II and is about four men who kidnap 16 adolescents and subject them to torture and humiliation. It features scenes depicting explicit sadistic sexual violence, pedophilia and feces-eating. The film has been described as a metaphor for fascism.

The Incident: After its release in 1975, the film was banned in Australia until 1993, when it was released in a limited fashion. The ban was reinstated in 1997. In 2003, Shock Entertainment obtained the rights and applied to the Office of Film and Literature Classifaction (OFLC) for a rating, so that the company could distribute the film on DVD. The board of 13 voted against the application, 7-6.

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Results of Incident: Many in the Australian arts and film community have voiced outrage that the OFLC would deny Australians the right to make the choice to view Salo in the privacy of their own homes. Freedom of speech group "Watch on Censorship" has publicly stated that they are unhappy with the decision and that the film is a tightly constructed, narrative piece with high artistic value. The OFLC's decision was upheld in 2008 and still stands.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/salo-or-the-120-days-of-sodom-1975-1.html

New Zealand

Date: 1975

Region: Australia

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Film Video

Salo.jpeg

Artist: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Confronting Bodies: New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification

Dates of Action: March 1997

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Description of Artwork: Salo, also known as 120 Days of Sodom, is a film about religious and government officials who indulge in vivid baccanalian rituals, such as sundry sexual fetishes and genital mutilation, with their constituencies following the allied invasion of fascist Italy during World War II.

The Incident: The film has been banned in New Zealand since its release in 1975. Their have been attempts to show the film in 1976 and 1993, but they have been denied by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

Results of Incident: New Zealand customs officers siezed the film while it was destined to show at the International Film Festival at the Paramount Theater in Wellington.

Source: Index on Censorship, 3/97 Warning: Display title "<span style="font-style: italic;">Salò (120 Days of Sodom)</span> (film)" overrides earlier display title "<span style="font-style: italic;">Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom</span> (film)".