Fellini Satyricon (1969) dir. Federico Fellini:
Filled with spectacular, wild imagery, Fellini's take on the Satyricon by Petronius is an eccentric, sometimes meandering, slice of mythology. One of the director's major forays into color (along with the better-regarded Amarcord), Satyricon isn't one of the revered director's best. It might even be said that this film marked the slow start of a general decline in his work. That said, it's one hell of a way to "go out" on. The sets, more fanciful than realistic (think Titus, not Gladiator) along with the rest of the production design, are part of what carry this psychedelic venture through ancient debauchery. And, by and large, it succeeds; the style effectively fills the void for substance. So even though the central characters aren't particularly memorable (they're moved by the plot, rather than the other way around), the way Fellini tells the string of episodes is remarkable. Not that it doesn't get bogged down. As was common with some of his later films, Satyricon gets indulgent at times, to the point where it feels like it needs a handful of reels removed. Still, it's hard not to be impressed with Fellini's execution, and the way it vividly creates and image of the wildness of ancient Rome. An imperfect vision, but nonetheless a remarkable one.