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Pasolini's SALO: Circle of Shit
The core of Salò is the anus, and its narrative drive pivots around the act of sodomy; no scene of a sex act has been confirmed, in the film, until one of the libertines has approached its participants and sodomized the figure committing that act. The filmic material of Salò is one that compacts celluloid and shit, in Pasolini's desire to burst the limits of cinema, via the anally resonant eye of the film-lens. In order to achieve an inciting relentlessness in his narrative, and to engulf his victims in the aura of excrement emanated by the film, Pasolini intersects his images with puncture-points of story-tellers' narration. Those story-tellers' sequences in Salò carry a more tangential role than that in 120 Days of Sodom, where they possess a status equal with that of the libertines' acts, in Sade's double-barrelled narrative-technique. In Salò, the story-tellers' narratives solely carry the momentum which propels the film's passive victims and viewers into its infernal 'circle of shit'.
In 120 Days of Sodom, Sade's libertines are all eager shit-eaters, constantly provoking the captive boys and girls to deposit ever-larger consignments of excrement into their mouths, thereby also escalating the number of sex acts which the libertines can accomplish. But the inspiration of Sade's obsession with the human anus extended much further than that of shit-eating, in his influence upon the French Surrealist movement in the 1930s, and on film-makers and theorists of the postwar era, from Pasolini to Gilles Deleuze and Jean Baudrillard. The seminal element in Sade which proved so inspirational is his profound preoccupation with violent anatomical manipulation, with its focus on the anus; once the human body has been radically re-configured, it is in a state of volatile flux which renders it more resistant or unrecuperable to stratified power-formations. In Sade, that reconfiguration of the body is simultaneously both an act of corporeally-endowed power, and the annulment or overturning of that entire structure of power; for example, a libertine, in Sade's book, severs the flesh-partition between a girl's anus and vagina, so that she is forced to defecate through her vagina.
Pasolini faltered in his desire to make the young actors and actresses of the Salò cast commit un-simulated sodomy and to eat actual excrement, serving them instead a palatable mix of chocolate and orange marmalade .....