Salo (or 120 Days in Sodom)
Subject: Explicit Sexuality
Medium: Film Video
Artist: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922 - 1975); Shock Entertainment
Confronting Bodies: Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification
Dates of Action: 1975 - 1993, 1997 through the present
Description of Artwork: Salo (or 120 Days in Sodom) is set in Italy during World War II and is about four men who kidnap 16 adolescents and subject them to torture and humiliation. It features scenes depicting explicit sadistic sexual violence, pedophilia and feces-eating. The film has been described as a metaphor for fascism and man's innate inclination for disgusting behavior.
The Incident: After its release in 1975, the film was banned in Australia until 1993, when it was released in a limited fashion. The ban was reinstated in 1997. In 2003, Shock Entertainment obtained the rights and applied to the Office of Film and Literature Classifaction (OFLC) for a rating, so that the company could distribute the film on DVD. The board of 13 voted against the application, 7-6.
Results of Incident: Many in the Australian arts and film community have voiced outrage that the OFLC would deny Australians the right to make the choice to view Salo in the privacy of their own homes. Freedom of speech group "Watch on Censorship" has publicly stated that they are unhappy with the decision and that the film is a tightly constructed, narrative piece with high artistic value. The OFLC's decision was upheld in 2008 and still stands.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/films/salo-or-the-120-days-of-sodom-1975-1.html