Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fellini Satyricon

Directed by:Federico Fellini Year of Release: 1969 Running Time: 128 minutes.

Adapted from the written work, Satyricon is Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini's exploration and personal visualization of the depravity and hedonism that was pagan Ancient Rome. The film condenses the source material into episodes which are loosely tied together by two men who each rival for the affections of a young boy. Thus begins a hallucinatory journey that starts in the crampt bowels of Rome and progresses through the many facets of Ancient roman society. Our protagonists seem less like characters than they do travel guides, taking the audience through the strange and nightmarish land where we meet the cruel, indulgent aristocracy, slave traders, a hermaphrodite goddess and a ritualistic matriarchal society with many other surreal stops along the way. Satyricon is one of the last great old fashioned, exquisite period pieces that combined with the unabashedly self-indulgent filmmaking pretty much died off after the 70's. Fellini's visual prowess is on full display in Satyricon, with lavish art/set design and stunning, unforgettable set pieces creating a cinematic netherworld that is by turns grotesque, violent, profane, erotic and beautiful. Fellini's film is also by turns muddled, frusterating, overtly self indulgent and sometimes frankly, boring. Dont let these flaws discourage you though because Fellini's often brillant jouney through his countrys infamous past is still a trip well worth taking, save for the faint of heart.

The DVD is currently avaliable from MGM's World Film collection

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