Criterion will issue a loaded DVD of Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom two and a half months from now. To those who’ve never seen it, I can only say two things: (1) As a perverse but lacerating piece of social criticism by a first-rate filmmaker, it’s totally deserving of respect but (2) you’ll never see a more appalling depiction of deliberate cruelty in your life.

I’ve sat through it twice, and I’m not sure I want to go there again. My second viewing was at the New York Film Festival in ’76 or ’77. I remember that during the scene when the four fascists are dressed in drag, a guy in the audience yelled out, “Diana Vreeland!”