Fellini-Satyricon (1969) | This ‘far-out’ Roman orgy is an intoxicating visual feast in 4K HD

Satyricon (1969) Blu-rayThis picture will be a science fiction… a trip back in time… into an unknown dimension’. ‘There is no end, no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. Everything is divine… if one looks with innocent eyes’.

Rome. Before Christ. After Fellini.
Fellini-Satyricon isn’t about some crazy cosplay convention for mythical goat-like creatures, but a visionary 1960s satire in which the legendary Italian director was at his most Fellini-esque. Having played a Dantesque pilgrim exploring Rome (aka his ‘city of illusion’) in his septimal 1960’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita, and going all self-reflexive and avant-garde in 1963’s , Fellini’s next Rome epic went back into a distant age, a time when excess was the ‘piatto del giorno’. Visionary, vulgar, phantasmagorical, and very queer indeed, Fellini-Satyricon is a fantastical spectacle that brings to exuberant existence the kind of frescos that would be unearthed (ever so briefly) in Fellini’s 1972 surreal travelogue, Roma and indeed appear in Satyricon‘s closing scenes.

Satyricon (1969) Blu-ray

Man standing alone before the fascinating mystery of life, all its terror, its beauty, and its passion’ is at the heart of Fellini’s episodic dream tapesty, loosely based on Gauis Petronius’ late 1st-century AD Roman novel. The story, for what its worth, follows student Encolpio (Martin Potter) and his lover Ascilto (Hiram Keller) encountering a series misadventures involving a pirate ship packed with attractive young men, the disastrous abduction of a hermaphrodite demi-god, and a gladiatorial fight with a minotaur – in between our strapping heroes bedding prostitutes in local brothels and getting drunk at bacchanalian orgies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fellini combines Petronius’ fragmentary novel with other mythical tales to weave an allegorical satire about the world in which he himself was becoming an outsider – Rome in the 1960s. One that was as degenerate and crazy as the Roman world described by Suetonius in his twelve Caesars biographies, and one that was also in revolt from the youth of day. For Encolpio and Ascilto, who are hippies from out of time and space, this was a world where total self-fullfilment was the Roman way under the reign of Nero.

Satyricon (1969)

Fellini’s free-flowing, hallucinatory myth restored is a film that is to be experienced rather than understood. Indeed, early-1970s audiences found Fellini’s far-out Roman feast a weird and wonderful acid trip and a stoner favourite. The dialogue, for the most part, maybe gibberish, but the visuals are simply intoxticating, with Fellini making full use of the ‘Scope frame (as he did with La Dolce Vita) by filling the screen with a richly textured colour palette and superb composition. In fact, looking at his grand operatic set pieces, you can see how Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway were influenced by Fellini’s most Fellini-esque of films. And what better way to watch it, than in glorious full widescreen HD.

satyricon_wide-3

THE MASTERS OF CINEMA RELEASE
Featuring a brand new 4K restoration, provided by Hollywood Classics/Criterion Collection, Fellini-Satyricon gets its first-time UK Blu-ray release from Eureka! as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. The special features include the following…
• Optional English dub track (If you choose this, you’ll notice that the English actors speak in their tongue – but don’t worry if it looks out of synch, as that’s how Fellini wanted it to be).
• Optional Italian track without subtitles.
• Theatrical trailer.
• Collector’s booklet featuring the 1968 Federico Fellini essay, Preface to the Treatment, about the mythic aspects of the director’s film (fascinating!); Sabrina Marques’ 2015 essay Fellini: Subversion by Excess (which I didn’t understand); Pasquale Iannone’s 2015 essay, Fellinscope, on the director’s use of widescreen (hugely informative); and the 1968 Vogue article Fellini-Satyricon-Dossier, again with Fellini (also very interesting).

Did You Know?
There was another film called Satyricon, by director Gian Luigi Polidoro, that was also released in 1969, but the producers claimed the title first – hence the use of Fellini’s name to distinguish between the two.

Trailer

Advertisements

About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on April 27, 2015, in Classic World Cinema, Must See, Must See, Must-See, Sci-Fi, The Masters of Cinema, World Cinema and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: