- Directors: Federico Fellini
- Format: PAL
- Language: French
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: German, English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 18
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- DVD Release Date: 28 April 2003
- Run Time: 130 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00008OP6M
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,050 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Federico Fellini's adaptation of Petronious' myth of Satyricon. In Rome, 500 BC, two students (Martin Potter and Hiram Keller) fall out over a boy (Max Börn), and go their separate ways. Their individual adventures include a battle with the Monotaur, imprisonment on a galley ship, and a drunken orgy, before the students are reunited.
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Top Customer Reviews
Fellini's film is a re-telling of a masterpiece of Roman literature. "The Satyricon" ('satire', which may originally have been a dish containing many different choices of meat and fruits) was written around AD 61. Only fragments remain. It ridicules the bad taste and pretensions of Roman society, using foul language and lurid fascination with bodily function to attack high culture and art.
Born in Marseilles, Gaius Petronius, author of "The Satyricon", was Emperor Nero's style guru, a man who partied to excess. The historian, Tacitus, described him as passing his days in sleep and nights in revelry, a man famous for indolence. He fell from favour and was forced to commit suicide. Nero, himself, was fascinated by theatre, music, and literature ... and by his own pretensions as an artist. Traditionally, his reign is seen as one of violence, and of rule by a highly unstable and fractious individual whose court was a living theatre of excess.
Set near Naples, "Satyricon" has that small town, seaside setting beloved of Fellini. The story follows the romantic adventures of Encolpius ("in the groin") as he vies with his friend and rival, Ascyltos, for the affections of a beautiful young man called Giton.Read more ›
One complaint about the DVD. The film, naturally, is in Italian. Now, I hate dubbing foreign films, but because the post-dubbing is so (deliberately) poor on this film an English language track wouldn't have mattered so much. Especially since the only English subtitles available on the disc are for the hard of hearing. This means that those of us who are fine of hearing and who don't speak Italian have to be constantly reminded as we watch the film about which character just laughed, about the rumbling noise that accompanies an earthquake, about crowds of people yelling etc. Really off-putting, and really lazy of MGM DVD. Maybe I'll complain...
At its opening at the Venice Film Festival in 1969 "the normally reserved press corps gave the film a five-minute ovation ... the Venice showing was so wildly popular that festival tickets, normally 2,000 lire ($3.20), were being sold on the black market at 60,000 lire (about $100) apiece." (Time, 10 Sep 1969). It was nominated for an Oscar in 1971.
There are two misconceptions about Satyricon. The first is that it has no plot. This is not true. The problem is that the book that it is based on has only survived in fragments, and the film imitates this. See the plot synopsis at IMDB for a full description of the plot.
The second misconception is that the lip-synch is bad. What the world has apparently forgotten is that Satyricon was Fellini's one and only English-language film. The three leading characters are played by English and Americans (Potter, Keller, Born) who speak no Italian. If you see the original English language version you will see that the lip-synch is just fine (and the text much more lyrical; amazingly the English subtitles on this version are translations of the Italian dubbing, which is of course a translation of the English soundtrack).
So in conclusion: this is a must-have film, but not in this version; make sure that it has the English sound-track before buying.
(And if the distributors are reading this, please include the film "Ciao Federico" as an extra, since it is about the making of Satyricon).
The film is based on the surviving fragments of the novel said to have been written by Petronius, a friend of Nero. The novel is very fragmentary, and any reader has at best a limited idea of its narrative structure. What we have deals with the wandering through Southern Italy of two young scholars, Encolpius and Ascyltus, and the people they know or meet. Because what we have is too short for a film, Fellini adds material, either from other ancient novels or from his own imagination. The effect is to make the narrative even more opaque and discontinuous. We jump from an earthquake, to an art gallery, to the Feast of Trimalchio, to a slave ship, to a revolution, and so on, without warning or explanation.
There is a purpose in the lack of coherence. There is a similar purpose in the out-of-sync dubbing of English-speaking actors into Italian, and in the untranslated snatches of Latin, Greek, German, Turkish and other languages. In every frame, we are told: “You have been set down in a radically foreign country – perhaps on an alien planet. Nothing here makes complete sense to you, nor is anyone interested in helping you to make sense of it. You may even be invisible to the inhabitants. They go about their business indifferent to whether you are watching or to what you may think.” Why is there a revolution half way through the film?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I know Fellini is supposed to be a genius and I am probably a Phillistine, but I found the story all but incomprehensible. Read morePublished 11 months ago by GOG
I watched this at my University film society in the early 70s and really didn't understand it.
Fellini's films are always strange and this is no exception. Read more
Federico Fellini's adaptation of Gaius Petronius Arbiter classic, depicting the decadence of the Roman society in Emperor Nero's reign, with an obligatory helping of Greek... Read morePublished 18 months ago by AMX
I bought this for a friend and then found that they hated it.
Watched it myself with similar response. Read more