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aka - Satyricon
Italy 1969
Directed by
Federico Fellini
128 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Fellini - Satyricon

Fellini's dream-like interpretation of Petronius's account of the decadence of Rome c.500 AD is a florid, self-indulgent mix of the grotesque and the visually seductive that only an artist whose reputation has surpassed ordinary constraints could have made. Histrionic and declamatory, one must give oneself up to its stylisations in order to enjoy it but even then it is the sort of film which will alienate many with its episodic structure and art-for-art's sake mise-en-scène.

Typically 60s in its preoccupation with decadence, excess and sexual degeneracy (Ken Russell would have loved it) it is both a Zeitgeist-driven representation of pre-Christian Rome and Fellini’s view of the modern world, an allegorical re-working of La Dolce Vita (most evident in the gallery sequence in which Encolpio meets up with the poet Eumolpus) and needs to be viewed in that context.

FYI: Gian Luigi Polidoro registered the title "Satyricon" for his movie first but United Artists bought the distribution rights for over a million dollars in order to keep it off the market until after the release of Fellini's film.




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