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Baker's Dozen

Pieces Of Life: Gaspar Noé's Favourite Films
Patrick Clarke , May 13th, 2022 08:01

On the release of his new film Vortex, Gaspar Noé takes Patrick Clarke through an intense and adventurous Baker's Dozen of favourite films, and the lessons they've taught him on the extent of human cruelty and the joy of shocking an audience


Salò, Or The 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

I was still living in Buenos Aires when my father wrote me from France – he had to escape for legal reasons from Argentina. He said, “I’ve seen the most shocking movie ever!” It was 120 Days Of Sodom in Paris. I was probably 12 years old when I received the letter. I said “I wanna see what my father saw!” A few months later we arrived with my mother, and I wanted to see it, but my father said, “You’re too young. In France you’ll be able to see all these other movies that are great, just wait!” The day I turned eighteen, my mother said, “It’s your eighteenth birthday, come with me, I’m, going to take you to see Pasolini’s Sodom. We need to talk about human cruelty.”

So I went with my mother to see that movie on my birthday, and I thought, “Shit! This is even worse than I expected!” She wanted to have a discussion when we came back home. She said, “Now you know how evil man can be to man.” I didn’t want to rewatch it for 12 years, but in my mind it was always like I had seen it yesterday. It’s a very powerful movie, because it’s not binary. It’s all about domination, and how people dominate to prove to themselves they have some power, but then they don’t know what to do with the power… that even the victims in the movie seem like they are potential aggressors. It’s probably the most reptilian depiction of humankind I’ve seen depicted in a narrative.