Sal˛ o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (1975)
This stiff and dehumanized film about an oppressive elite's sadistic torture and sexual abuse of a group of teenagers in Fascist Italy in 1944 is amongst Pasolini's most controversial but also least artistically accomplished films. He may have gotten the idea for this speculative project from Marquis de Sade's famous novel, but in addition to being vile and enormously tasteless, the film is also empty and completely irreverent. Pasolini is only interested in his own sensationalistic images and anecdotes, not in storytelling or the characters' psyche. And the fascism parable turns out to be little more than a leftist's miserable excuse for self-satisfication. The only interesting aspect of Sal˛ is the fact that it was actually made, and what this says about the artistic atmosphere which existed during the 1970s.