I haven’t been game to watch this particular film, but I gather than this still makes it look deceptively normal. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom is based on the Marquis de Sade’s book 120 Days of Sodom and portrays the kidnapping, torture and sexual assault of 18 teenage boys and girls by four powerful libertines in fascist Italy. It is extremely controversial, and still banned in many countries.
In Australia, Salò has had quite a journey in the story of film censorship, which is very closely linked to the story of queer film:
- On its arrival in Australia in 1976, Salò was banned for “indecency”.
- In 1993 it was unbanned, an given a classification for 18-year-olds and older.
- Come 1998, it was banned again, this time for “offensive cruelty with high impact, sexual violence and depictions of offensive and revolting fetishes”.
- In 2010, the film was unbanned again, but only allowed to be viewed in a DVD release which include 176 minutes of additional material providing context for the film.