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“Salò” returns to earth.

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08262008_salo.jpgThe original 1998 Criterion release of “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious, oft-banned final film (he was murdered shortly after its completion), was withdrawn because of licensing issues, making the DVDs that did make it onto the market fetishized objects unto themselves, commanding hundreds of dollars on eBay and Amazon, more if still sealed. The film became overshadowed by its own rarity. But today Criterion finally rereleases the film in a two-disc set with three accompanying docs, interviews and essays from, among others, Neil Bartlett and Catherine Breillat.

So how does “Salò” hold up in these days when the teens take in torture while munching popcorn at the multiplex and even Kermit the Frog is down with coprophagia? Well, Ain’t It Cool‘s Harry Knowles reassures that it’s still “Fucked beyond all belief.” Dennis Lim, writing at the LA Times this weekend, writes that “its extreme, claustrophobic force is undiluted”:

The 1970s was a hotbed of scandalous art cinema, but “Salò” — unlike such X-rated shockers as “Last Tango in Paris” or “In the Realm of the Senses” — has not been tamed by the passage of years. If anything, there is a cruel, chilling timelessness to both its imagery and its logic. The shock hasn’t worn off in the slightest.

From Bruce Bennett at the New York Sun:

In the context of a sad contemporary cultural atmosphere that tolerates repugnant and childish torture-porn entertainments such as Eli Roth’s lowbrow “Hostel” and Gaspar Noé’s highbrow “Irreversible,” Pasolini’s essential diagram of “the anarchism of power” remains a far more perverse yet infinitely more compassionate and personal work of art than anything created in its turbid, tragic, and, for better or worse, highly influential wake.

At, Keith Breese suggests “Watching Salo is very much akin to reading Sade’s novel: You get the point very quickly and after you’ve gotten the point it’s hard to justify continued attention.” At Slant, Eric Henderson notes that in her essay “Catherine Breillat–dependable old Catherine Breillat–surmises that the movie was not meant to be shocking.”

[Photo: “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” 1975 – Criterion]

+ Harry’s DVD Picks & Peeks – 4th week of August DVDs: HEROES, Errol Flynn, Nightmare Before Christmas, Salo, Cannibalism & more!! (AICN)
+ ‘Salò’ on Criterion: 1975 film still a shocker (LA Times)
+ Pasolini’s Cruel Masterpiece (NY Sun)
+ Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom (
+ Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Slant)
+ Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Criterion)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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