Fellini Satyricon

Movie Information

In Brief: The tag line kind of says it all, "Rome. Before Christ. After Fellini." Fellini Satyricon (1969) is Fellini at his most unchecked and unfiltered. Calling the film disjointed is to miss the point, since it was adapted — or perhaps Fellinified — from Petronius' Satyricon, which exists only in fragments. The upshot of this is that Fellini was pretty much unhampered by narrative concerns, and it didn't much matter if stories started and then just never played out. Oh, it has a basic narrative involving main character Encolpio (Martin Potter) trying to retain his slave/boy toy Gitone (Max Born), which is at best a slippery business, it seems. It almost flirts with being a romance, but never quite flies, because Gitone is such a complete blank. There's much more going on between Encolpio and Ascilto (Hiram Keller), even though they're frequently at odds (sometimes over Gitone). But this hardly matters, since the film is all about Fellini creating a stunningly beautiful — and beautifully decadent — freak-show version of first century Rome, and his film goes wherever his fancy leads it.
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Martin Potter, Hiram Keller, Max Born, Salvo Randone, Mario Romagnoli, Capucine
Rated: R

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Fellini Satyricon Friday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 828-273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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