Satyricon (1969, Federico Fellini)

On a bit of a Fellini kick. On a recent shopping trip I found two different books about this movie, so I thought I’d do the full research project, (re)watching the DVD then reading the books. But about halfway through the DVD I decided I was ready to be finished with Satyricon, so the books will have to wait. It’s an imaginative adaptation of an ancient novel, Fellini-grotesque-style with a huge cast and massive sets. Seems like it should work, but everyone is a bit too wild and campy and I couldn’t get on the movie’s wavelength.

Our hero (or protagonist, anyway) is blonde Encolpius (Martin Potter of Demy’s Lady Oscar), introduced vehemently seeking his ex-lover Ascyltus (Atlantan Hiram Keller of Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye), who stole away E’s underage boy Giton and sold him to pig-faced actor Vernacchio. E gets the boy, immediately loses him again, then his entire apartment building is destroyed by an earthquake so E goes to a banquet thrown by super rich poet Trimalchio and attended by bitter rival poet Eumolpus (Salvo Randone of Hands Over the City), who nearly gets thrown into the oven.

Poetry party:

Trimalchio and Fortunata:

Eumolpus vs. the oven:

E is captured by a slave ship and “married” to an old man called Lichas (Alain Cuny, mysterious caped dude in The Milky Way), who is soon killed by enemies of Caesar. Little Giton is there too, but captured again, of course.

Baths are taken, and the demigod Hermaphrodite is kidnapped then allowed to die of dehydration. E fights a fake minotaur then loses his mojo and has to visit the fire-crotched witch Oenothea to get it back.

Oh yeah, there are some women in the movie besides the witch – Capucine (Clouseau’s wife in The Pink Panther) and Magali Noel (temptress of Amarcord), mostly playing bitter wives.

The wikipedia claims the dubbing was unusually horrendous by directorial intent, but I’m not buying it.