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Trivia / SalÚ, or the 120 Days of Sodom

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  • Amateur Cast: Par for the course for a Pasolini film. While most of the adults were professional actors, many of the victims were played by teenagers in their first or only film roles.
  • Banned in China: This film was predictably banned in about half of Europe for about 20 years following its release. Now it has been unbanned pretty much everywhere.
  • Content Warnings: One of the few films in The Criterion Collection, if not the only one, with a content warning sticker ("Warning: Explicit Content")
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  • Dueling Works: With Fellini's Casanova, which was also released in Italy in 1976. Both are Italian films that explore debauchery as Central Theme, and both are based on the writings of a famous libertine figure of the 18th century — The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade on one hand, and Giacomo Casanova's autobiography on the other. Salò goes full throttle with the debauchery/depravity, while Fellini's Casanova is made of Lewd Lust, Chaste Sex and Sexy Discretion Shots. Also, both films were produced by Alberto Grimaldi.
  • The Danza: Many of the victims share their names with the actors playing them.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The feces were actually made out of chocolate and orange marmalade, but were so incredibly sweet that some of the actors were genuinely disgusted when eating them.
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  • Fake Nationality: Signora Vaccari is played by French actress Hélène Surgère.
  • Hostility on the Set: Surprisingly enough, this was completely averted. Actress Hélène Surgère described the atmosphere on set as fun-loving, jovial, and immature despite the nasty content of the film. Everyone got along very well and there were no arguments or fights at any point during filming, with the majority of the cast using it as an excuse to goof off and play childish pranks on each other. Several of the actors later stated how shocked they were by the finished product, as they had so much fun on set they failed to realize just how dark and horrifying the film actually was. On the other hand, Franco Merli, who played one of the male victims, suffered a panic attack during the sequence where he has a gun held to his head. It ruined the take and took at least an hour for the other actors to calm him down.
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  • One-Book Author: For many of the actors, Salò was their one and only film.
  • Posthumous Credit: Pier Paolo Pasolini was murdered before the film was released.
  • Same Language Dub: Due to the incredibly controversial nature of the film, none of the actors were able to return to post-production to dub their dialogue (the film, as with most Italian films at the time, was shot silently with all dialogue added via ADR). As a result, every single actor in the film is dubbed, with the exceptions of Caterina Boratto (Signora Castelli).