OTB#75: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Pier Paolo Pasolini. 1975. ⚁

Well, this isn’t a movie I’ve been looking forward to seeing… I’m so over the whole épatering la bourgeoisie thing.

Somewhat interestingly, the critics and the directors are really divergent on this one, only getting to the 202nd place in the critics’ poll. Gaspar Noé voted for it, of course.


The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) in January 1976. It was first screened at the Old Compton Street cinema club in Soho, London in 1977, in an uncut form and without certification from BBFC secretary James Ferman; the premises were raided by the Metropolitan Police after a few days.

Anyway! This isn’t quite the film I was dreading: I thought it was just going to be nine hours of torture and rape, and it’s not that. It has a storyline (kinda), and, I mean, it’s got great performances from the actors and the cinematography is really good. I think you can squint and imagine this movie without, say, the fifteen (?) minutes of the most yucky bits, and this might almost have been an uncontroversial art house classic (“a trenchant treatise on Fascism” or something).

The final scene, where Pasolini implicates the audience, is just as sophomoric as you’d expect (and it’s all torture and rape). No wonder Haneke likes this movie.

I skipped past scenes that seemed they were going to be particularly icky. People who had to watch this in a cinema may perhaps not be as sanguine.

I’m continuing my quest to get rid of the melon liqueur: Envy.

It’s not very good. Perhaps the problem is the Frangelico…

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

OTB#75: Kes

Kes. Ken Loach. 1969. ⚃

I’ve seen this before… like, a handful of years ago? I did not much like it then: The relentless awfulness of the boy’s life is… relentless? (I have a way with words.) But perhaps I misremember. Especially now that I’ve got a 2K copy of the movie.

Heh heh:

The DVD version of the film has certain scenes dubbed over with fewer dialect terms than in the original. In a 2013 interview, director Ken Loach said that, upon its release, United Artists organised a screening of the film for some American executives and they said that they could understand Hungarian better than the dialect in the film.

I do love the dialect they’re talking in, but I’m glad it’s subtitled.

OK, the relentlessness I thought I remembered is less relentless than er this sentence is going nowhere. Anyway, not everybody are horrible here. Just… 95%… like that asshole gym teacher, which is, I’m guessing, is a true recollection from the writer. It seems to have that vicious quality to it.

But the actors (presumably mostly all amateurs) aren’t very good. There’s a theatricality to it… it’s not like Agnès Varda, where it works perfectly. Instead they’re really trying to act, and it doesn’t quite work.

Strangely enough, it gets better as the movie progresses. Was it shot in sequence, perhaps?

It’s heartbreaking.

I’ve decided to concentrate on some liqueurs to get rid of them more efficiently. So I’m doing melon recipes for the next few movies, unless I get nauseated. So first off is Gulf Coast Sex on the Beach.

It’s pretty good, and very sweet.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

OTB#75: Mulholland Dr

Mulholland Drive. David Lynch. 2001. ⚅

I’ve seen this several times before, of course… but now it’s in 2K!

I adore Lynch, but I wonder: Why Mulholland Dr. and not… like… Inland Empire?

There’s two Lynch Movies on this list: Blue Velvet (duh) and this. Perhaps the attraction of this movie is that it’s, well, about Hollywood, which always attracts movie types, and it’s a puzzle movie where the puzzle is explained, so it flatters the audience.

But it’s a wonderful movie. Watching this, I was there 100% for er 95% of the scenes. I love the sound design, the cinematography, the actors, everything.

And I had forgotten how funny it is.

I did not know this:

Originally conceived as a television series, Mulholland Drive began as a 90-minute pilot produced for Touchstone Television and intended for the ABC television network. David Lynch sold the idea to ABC executives based only on the story of Rita emerging from the car accident with her purse containing $125,000 in cash and the blue key, and Betty trying to help her figure out who she is. An ABC executive recalled, “I remember the creepiness of this woman in this horrible, horrible crash, and David teasing us with the notion that people are chasing her. She’s not just ‘in’ trouble—she is trouble. Obviously, we asked, ‘What happens next?’ And David said, ‘You have to buy the pitch for me to tell you.'”

So the movie is, to some extent, a way to wrap up the pilot that had already been filmed, and that explains the unique structure the movie has.

Man, I’ve got a lot of liqueurs. Perhaps I should concentrate on getting rid of some specific ones… like… the St. Germain… So here’s Caneflower cocktail.

It’s OK, I guess, but kinda one note.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

OTB#75: The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch. Sam Peckinpah. 1969. ⚂

Oh, I’ve got this on an old 6Mbps DVD release… I should have bought a 2K version, because it looks like that would have been really nice…

OK; I’m going through all the rest of the movies to see whether they’re suspiciously small files and re-buying them. But for this one I’m doing the pirate thing.

Peckinpah has a good eye for scenes that have high impact, but watching this, it sure feels like I’m being lectured by a moron. The scenes of the children torturing the scorpion, for instance, intercut with scenes of cruelty to humans, is so…

It’s pretty basic.

As with Jaws, I’m not quite sure why this movie is on this list. On the list of directors that voted for this, there’s Michael Mann and Paul Schrader, and I can see that, but… it’s just hard to be interested in what going on here. Is it because it’s all transgressive and stuff? Because the outlaws are the protagonists and that plays into the zeitgeist from when this was released?

There’s some good performances here, but there’s so many bits that are just… risible. There’s barely a scene when some actor doesn’t chew the scenery, or some extra ineptly mugs at the camera. Perhaps it’s deep if you’re stoned?

The scenes in Mexico seem profoundly racist, but then again, the people in the US village was depicted as assholes, too, so perhaps not.

All the laughing at stuff that isn’t funny really got on my nerves after a while.

But the action scenes are good, and perhaps that’s the point.

I’m trying to get rid of the orange curaçao in this series on cocktails from leftovers, but the
Dutch Tea Cocktail
has the first recipe I’ve seen with Genever. So I had to open that bottle which been sat in the cupboard for some years.

It’s really tasty. I added some simple syrup to it, though, because it seemed on the tart side.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.