Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fellini Satyricon

FELLINI SATYRICON. It is rather odd returning to FELLINI SATYRICON after 40 or so years, as I had not seen it since 1970. It plays like a dream – or a nightmare, with some of the most vivid images one can imagine, as we wander through that pansexual vision of Ancient Rome with Encolpio (blond Martin Potter) and Ascilto (dark Hiram Keller, 1944-1997), friends who were enemies over their infatuation with Giton (Max Born) a coquette who preferred Ascilto. 
The boys have their comic adventures as they take in that decadent feast filled with grotesques presided over by a former slave, Trimalcione, now filthy rich; then are kidnapped by pirates on that very odd ship where Encolpio has to “marry” pirate leader Alain Cuny (who is soon decapitated as a new regime takes over) …. A silent Capucine presides over the ceremony. Later the boys encounter that hermaphrodite god whom they kidnap, witness the wealthy couple freeing their servants before committing suicide, frolic with each other and that slave girl ….
On and on it goes until Enclopio is left alone, after the death of Ascilto, and after fighting that Minotaur, as he goes off with another band of sailors to have more adventures. All one can say is that it looks staggering, Fellini fills the screen with the oddest oddballs (mysterious whores, hedonists, gluttons) and amazing sets (Danilo Donati) conjuring up frightful visions of a corrupt ancient world. Martin Potter looks perfect here and had some other roles, but nothing to equal this (see review of GOODBYE GEMINI at Potter, Trash labels, and we will be seeing his ALL COPPERS ARE... from 1972 shortly).
Federico described it as "Science fiction of the past" - and its certainly one of the more vivid views of the ancient world.

Others involved are Lucia Bose, fashion model Donyale Luna, Magali Noel, Salvo Randone. It is all very fragmented, in the style of Petronius, but it certainly one to keep and return to, from that great 1969-70 era when cinema was getting very adventurous. In that pre-internet world (and only 3 tv channels here in the UK) movies were very important to us, as we (in our early 20s) rushed to see Visconti’s THE DAMNED, this Fellini, Antonioni blowing up America in ZABRISKIE POINT, Ken Russell sexing up D H Lawrence and Tchaikovsky and that version of Gore Vidal’s MYRA BRECKINRIDGE ….no wonder it was a time of experiemental oddball movies and great music as young people forged their own entertainments without being derailed by social networks, cellphones, computer games and all the rest of today's distractions ...


  1. Those who will be in the San Francisco Bay Area during mid-October (2014) can see 'Fellini Satyricon' as part of an 'Altered Realities' film series being shown Friday evenings in October at the Mechanics Institute Library:

  2. It's a great film. Full of visual splendour