Last night was a full-on sensory assault. Having just returned from the loudest show I've ever been to (Mogwai/The Fuck Buttons @ The Regency), I decided I should finally sit down with Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, which had arrived in the mail via Netflix last week. Like any cinephile, I had heard a lot about this movie before watching it. Most offensive film ever made... most disturbing film ever made... et cetera. I was half-drunk on overpriced beer, had a high-pitched ringing in my ears, and was up for a challenge. And it must be said... Salò was a challenge, if nothing else. All exaggeration aside, it was the closest I've come to vomiting during (because of) a movie. Even closer than Window Water Baby Moving. Apparently the only thing I find more disturbing than birth is coprophagia. Who knew? (Two Girls One Cup certainly never elicited a response like that... I guess that says something about the nature/power of fictional engagement. Also about how shit isn't gross as long as it looks like delicious chocolate ice cream.) Sade has never been handled this way on film before, and when married to Pasolini's particular pedantic (political) playfulness, something exciting is born. Too bad he got run the fuck down by his own car before we got a chance to see what might have come next.
Long story short: I think I'm going to have to disagree with Julia Kristeva's notion that what happens in Sade isn't abject. Salò is abject as hell.