Fellini Satyricon [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs]

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aec.crrn2442dvd 2/24/15 New
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Synopsis

Federico Fellini makes his most decadent, undisciplined work in this free adaptation of Petronius' famous farcical chronicle of ancient Roman life. The film opens with Encolpio (Martin Potter) vying with his friend Ascilto (Hiram Keller) for the affections of a young effeminate lad named Gitone (Max Born). When the youth chooses his rival or him, Encolpio begins a journey that has him encountering Romans of every stripe and color. He drops in on an orgy thrown by Trimalchio (Mario Romagnoli), a wealth-loving ex-slave who has spurned his wife in favor of a pleasures of a young boy; he toils on a slave galley, fighting off the advances of Lichas (Alain Cuny) -- the ship's burly wall-eyed captain; he steals an albino hermaphrodite demi-god who is reputed to be able to tell the future; and fails to summon the enthusiasm to make love to a whore-priestess. Along the way, we witness a parade of prostitutes in ancient Rome's pleasure quarters; watch performance by Vernacchio (Fanfulla), an actor whose on-stage specialties include farting and public amputation; and the wonton devouring of a human corpse for financial gain. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Review

Review Text A director known for picaresque narratives and grotesque imagery, Federico Fellini's Satyricon is easily his most lurid and bizarre work. The film is both a continuation of the director's obsessions and a stark break from previous works. Just as in La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2, Fellini strives to create a work that captures the zeitgeist of a given era with his inimitable brand of psychological realism. Unlike his earlier works, Satyricon dispenses with any kind of moorings in reality, favoring instead a stream of pungent images barely connected by narrative. Though the film is structured with a fragmented narrative, Satyricon is far from being formless. As a whole, the film is a rumination on the varieties of male sexuality. The first third of the film deals with primarily homosexual themes: Encolpio is heartbroken over the loss of his boy lover; Trimalchio lavishes attention on his; and the Lichas impresses Encolpio into a gay wedding at sea. The middle section complicates manners, first with a threesome between Encolpio, Ascilto, and a young slave girl, and then more strikingly with the presence of the hermaphrodite fortune teller. The film finishes by exploring hetero motifs: Encolpio discovers that he is impotent while flailing around on the alter of the whore-priestess, and then recovers his virility while pleasuring Oneothea, a corpulent sorceress sex therapist. On another level, Satyricon mirrors the chaos and decadence of Europe in the late '60s. Every character in the film is corrupt, libidinous, avaricious, and estranged from tradition and family. Ancient Rome is rotten to the core. Taken in conjunction with films like La Dolce Vita, Fellini's critique of modern mores develops a real bite. Though not as highly regarded as his other works such as La Strada, Satyricon is a rich and lyrical masterpiece. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Product Details

Release Date
2/24/15 
Studio
Criterion
MPAA Rating
R -- Restricted
Length
2 hours, 10 minutes
Sound
  • Dolby Digital Mono
Region
  • USA & territories, Canada
Subtitles
  • English
Video Features
  • Audio commentary featuring an adaptation of Eillen Lanouette Hughes's memoir on the set of "Fellini Satyricon": a behind-the-scenes diary
  • Ciao, Federico!, Gideon Bachmann's hour-long documentary shot on the set of Fellini Satyricon
  • Archival interviews with Director Federico Fellini
  • New interview with Rotunno
  • New documentary about Fellini's adaptation of Petronius's work, featuring interviews with classicists Luca Canali, a consultant on the film, and Joanna Paul
  • New interview with photographer Mary Ellen Mark about her experiences on the set and her iconic photographs of Fellini and his film
  • Felliniana, a presentation of Fellini Satyricon ephemera from the collection of Don Young
  • Trailer
  • Plus: an essay by film scholar Michael Wood
Number of Discs
2

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