For me it’s either Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom” or Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah.”
I rarely find myself disturbed by what critics have dubbed ‘torture-porn’ films, but “Salò” was so gutrenching because, unlike other entries to the genre (“The Human Centipede,” “A Serbian Film”), “Salò” has underlying themes and messages, which ultimately excludes it from the asinine torture-porn genre altogether.
“Shoah” was a completely different experience. It was so absurd, watching it the first time, because it had no archival footage of the concentration camps (Laznmann expressed a disdain over using historical footage). It was so powerful to me because of the honesty presented in its testimonies (one particular story about a man who unloaded a truck full of his family’s dead bodies is especially hard to handle).
So I ask: what is the hardest film to watch, of those that you’ve seen?