8 October 2012 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Pasolini explains Salò and more in this insightful documentary
On November 2, 1975, director Pier Paolo Pasolini was brutally murdered by a young man in Rome. His last film, released months later, was the highly controversial "Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom", a story about four fascist libertines who gather young boys and girls for their own pleasure, causing them pain, suffering, and all sorts of tortures. Of this film, specially made to stir some shock from audiences, we didn't have much clue of what was Pasolini's proposition, we're left to discover for ourselves since his views on it weren't known to most of us. Up until now.
"Pasolini Prossimo Nostro" ("Pasolini Next to Us") gives some of his powerful insights on why he made "Salò", the ideas he used, what he wanted to present with each shocking scene. Giuseppe Bertolucci (Bernardo's brother) was the director of this documentary which presents lots of black-and-white stills from the movie, some moments from behind the scenes, and many interviews with Pasolini.
It is true the fact he said that he suggested that everyone should see this movie but the quote put in context is "In general, (the movie) is for everyone, another me." With the last part in mind one can idealize that only someone who thinks like the master can truly enjoy the film, or find it interesting, relevant. I really like the film, I understand it, therefore I'm part of Pasolini's hoped audience. Here, he says that he doesn't believe young people will get this film, it's not meant for those (he was referring to the Italian youth of his time though). Strange and contradictory, since he believes that everyone should watch it. Speaking of contradiction, the man falls a lot on them. One great instance is when he says that he's free to present the films he wants, in the way he wants, yet moments later he's caught saying that there's no free artists in the world, freedom is inexistent. OK, everyone's entitled to those moments in life.
His observations on the film are truly remarkable, firing against the middle-class, the religion institutions, the mass consumerism (disgustingly evoked in the Coprophagia scene), criticizing it like the plague saying that the consumers of the world are nothing but resigned people who think they're getting their rights done when actually they're getting served more and more loads of problems, losing all the time (he's right on that!). More staggering than those opinions is when Pasolini rejects the idea of feeling pity for the victims of his movie. "I don't believe in that. If I would done that you would walk away from the movie in the first five minutes". That explains why we're so distant of them, relating with them just a little, we don't get much of their perspectives.
Towards its conclusion, the documentary has Pasolini presenting his views on film, the way he films things, works his ideas. I loved it when he said he preferred films than literature in the sense that films are actually older than books. Take a look at dreams, they're like movies, visual and quite real. He says that movies are a real presentation of reality; books distorts reality, gives more dimensions to a simple word (and we're talking about someone who, at one time, was a great poet).
I liked this documentary, I think it should be included in "Salò" next editions on DVD (if it's not already) but I do find it a little bit stuck with the same things, which is quite odd seeing the stills over and over with only the narration changing. There should be less stills showing scenes of the movie and more clips from the movie (there's very few). But just following a behind the scenes of an art film and the ideas that led to its making it's highly enjoyable and informative. 8/10