Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Italy/France, 1969. Produzioni Europee Associate. Adaptation and Screenplay by Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi, additional screenplay material by Brunello Rondi, based on the book Satyricon by Petronius. Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. Produced by Alberto Grimaldi. Music by Tod Dockstader, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Nino Rota, Andrew Rudin. Production Design by Danilo Donati, Luigi Scaccianoce. Costume Design by Danilo Donati. Film Editing by Ruggero Mastroianni. Academy Awards 1969. Golden Globe Awards 1969. New York Film Critics Awards 1970.
For two hours you can save your money on hallucinogenics and take Fellini’s awe-inspiring drug trip. It’s a thrilling odyssey through a truly bizarre Ancient Rome, a world where the absence of Christianity makes it truly unrecognizable in terms of social values (Fellini described it as science-fiction projected into the past instead of the future). Danilo Donati’s production and costume designs are eye-popping, and Fellini never ceases to amaze with his blocking and camera set-ups. Make sure you see the widescreen version, and if you really enjoy the film, read Eileen Lanouette Hughes’ excellent book On The Set of Fellini Satyricon for some insight into its making. Martin Potter plays the main character Encolpius, who journeys the land looking for a little meaning in life after he is thwarted in love and finds himself surrounded by reckless hedonism. As in all Fellini’s films, the cyclical nature of the storytelling moves episodically, ending with the passion for continued living despite the questions that remain unanswered.