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Fellini - Satyricon (1969)

A series of disjointed mythical tales set in first century Rome.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Petronius (book), Federico Fellini (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Potter ... Encolpio
Hiram Keller ... Ascilto
Max Born ... Gitone
Salvo Randone ... Eumolpo
Mario Romagnoli ... Trimalcione (as Il Moro)
Magali Noël ... Fortunata
Capucine ... Trifena
Alain Cuny ... Lica
Fanfulla ... Vernacchio
Danika La Loggia ... Scintilla (as Danica la Loggia)
Giuseppe Sanvitale Giuseppe Sanvitale ... Abinna
Genius Genius ... Hermeros, liberto arricchito
Lucia Bosé ... La matrona
Joseph Wheeler Joseph Wheeler ... Il suicida (as Joseph Weelher)
Hylette Adolphe ... La schiavetta
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Storyline

In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the "Arbiter of Elegance" in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence. Written by Steven Pemberton <Steven.Pemberton@cwi.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There Is No End...No Beginning... There Is Only the Infinite Passion of Life... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | History

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | Latin

Release Date:

11 March 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fellini Satyricon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Potter was chosen because of his close similarity to Terence Stamp, who was unable to reunite with Federico Fellini, for whom he had played Toby Dammit the previous year. See more »

Goofs

In one version, Joseph Wheeler is credited as 'Joseph Weelher'. See more »

Quotes

Eumolpo: All those named as beneficiaries in my will, except the freemen, will come into possession of all I've left behind on the condition they rip my body into pieces and eat me in full view of everyone. I urge my friends not to reject my invitation but to devour my body with the same enthusiasm with which they sent my soul to hell.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Lebowski (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Drums for the Niegpadouda Dance
From Anthology of Music of Black Africa
Recorded by Everest Records
Arranged by Bernard C. Salomon
Published by Arvon Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Visually Splendid--But Extremely Problematic
8 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

If one rates a film on visuals alone, Fellini's SATYRICON would surely be completely off the scale: a phantasmagorical mixture of sensual beauty and the distasteful but evocative grotesque set in an ancient Rome that never was, never could have been, and yet which plays up to every extreme concept we secretly harbor about Roman decadence. The leading men are incredibly beautiful; the women are generally seductively depraved; and the broad vision that Fellini offers is easily one of the visually stunning creations ever put to film.

And yet, oddly, the film is sterile. The story is impossible to describe, a series of largely unrelated events in the lives of two impossibly handsome youths (Martin Potter and Hiram Keller) who begin the film by battling over the sexual favors of a slave boy (Max Born) who alternately unites and divides them until all three find themselves sold into slavery and flung from adventure to adventure, most often with sexual (and frequently homosexual) connotations. Clearly, Fellini is making a statement about the triviality and emptiness of a life lived for physical pleasures alone.

But the film is jumpy, disjointed, disconnected; the sequences do not always arise from each other in any consistent way, leaving viewers with a sort of "what the ..." reaction when the film unexpectedly shifts without explanation. (This is actually in keeping with the original ancient text, of which only portions remain.) In consequence, SATYRICON is ultimately less about any philosophical statement Fellini may have had in mind than it is about sheer pictorial splendor and deliberate weirdness.

Whatever its failings, it is an astonishing film, and one that would have tremendous influence on a host of directors who followed in Fellini's wake--although all to often without his style and vision. Clearly Pasolini, director of such works as SALO, ARABIAN NIGHTS, and CANTERBURY TALES spent the better part of his largely unlamented life trying to out-Fellini Fellini; likewise, it is impossible to imagine how Tinto Brass and Bob Guccione arrived at the notorious CALIGULA without reference to Fellini's SATYRICON.

Such efforts to expand on SATYRICON were merely more explicit and less interesting than the original, and I do not really recommend them--nor do I really recommend SATYRICON for any one other than Fellini fans, for with its oddly disjointed feel it is unlikely to please those raised on mainstream. Still, it is a powerful, remarkably beautiful, and completely unexpected film that must be seen at least once by any one with a serious interest in world cinema, and to those I recommend it without hesitation.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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