1001 Movie Club - Satyricon (1969)

#512. Satyricon (1969)

#497. Satyricon (1969)

Why It's In The Book: "The popularity of the European art film with American audiences began with the Italian neorealist films of the 1940s, and expanded with the engaged and visionary films of that movement's most influential successor, Federico Fellini. More famous, perhaps, for productions that examine the mores and difficulties of contemporary society, the director also, like many in the Italian film industry, showed an interest in historical reconstructions. Satyricon is an epic reimagining of Petronius's novella about life in the time of Nero. Fellini's sprawling film - the action ranges far and wide throughout the Roman world - was an immediate success with art-house audiences. Shocking scenes of debauchery, grotesquerie, and black comedy fully earned an R rating from the then recently installed ratings system, taking advantage of the new freedom of expression offered with the demise of the Production Code.
At once a quite faithful depiction of ancient Rome in the tradition of the Italian historical film and an evocation of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Satyricon has much in common with the director's earlier films, particularly La Dolce Vita (1960). However, many reviewers felt it lacked the intellectual themes and meaningful stylizations of the director's earlier efforts. Certainly an emphasis on nudity and sex issued an appeal to certain segments within the "art cinema" audience of the period... A comment, perhaps (in the manner of Fellini's other works), on the hedonism and unrepentant materialism of modern society, the film is more memorable as a feast of surprising, even shocking images, with visual rhymes and repeated motifs imposing a kind of unity on the continuing flow. Released in 1972, Fellini's Roma, a kind of sequel, was unable to recapture the strange compelling magic of the original." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 8/10
"The stark, forsaken imagery is as haunting as any you'll see in a horror movie; so tepid, it almost borders on the inane, yet it remains nothing but fascinating to watch."

Michaël Parent - 8/10
"The films of Federico Fellini always have been intriguing and mysterious because every first viewing of his films I feel like I’m entering in a different world than mine."

Klaus Ming - 7/10
"a surreal visual feast that is comparable to the physical debaucheries of film's characters"

Squish - 7/10
"For as beautiful, original and artistic as Satyricon is, it really was more drama than fantasy, with legend replaced by elaborate costumes."

Nicolas Krizan - 6/10
"Filled with intriguing details that never add up."

Movie Guy Steve - 5/10
"...this film was a pointless excursion in excess, a film about nothing but itself."

Overall Rating: 6.8/10

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