Encolpio (Martin Potter) travels to the theatre in order to bring back his beloved partner, Gitone (Max Born). The latter has been sold by Ascilto (Hiram Keller) to an actor named Vernacchio (Fanfulla) and forced to perform in different salacious plays. Encolpio rushes on stage during one such play and rescues his lover. The two men then leave back to their home on Insula Felicles and spend a sensual, idyllic night together before being torn apart again. Soon after they fall asleep, Ascilto enters their room and tauntingly proposes cutting Gitone in half in order to share him. Although Encolpio vehemently opposes the man’s lewd intrusion, Gitone ultimately decides to leave with Ascilto. Encolpio is crushed by his lover’s decision and soon after an earthquake demolishes the entire tenement.
Eumolpo (Salvo Randone), a poet who is dejected by the depravity and savagery of Roman society, meets Eucolpio at an art museum and invites him to a banquet. The feast is held by Trimalcione (Mario Romagnoli), a former slave who has become a prosperous land-owner and popular (albeit unoriginal) poet, and by his wife, Fortunata (Magali Noël). Eucolpio attends the banquet only to find a dark, shameless festivity of social breakdown, torture and sexual debauchery.
“I think Fellini-Satyricon needs to be approached with some preparation; it’s unlikely to hold your attention without knowing a little bit about the background of the story, and perhaps the personal and social challenges Fellini faced as a film director.”
— Blueprint Review
“It dares us to recognize rather than deny or accuse these strange people and habits, and if we try to measure them against our idea of normality, to quantify their appeal or horror by some standard we feel we can trust.”
— The Criterion Collection
Did You Know?
Federico Fellini is widely-known for his autobiographical pictures, particularly 8 ½ and La Dolce Vita. However, Fellini’s Satyricon is the first of his films which embodies the familiar garish decadence without too many elements from the director’s biography. Going back to Nero’s times, Satyricon is “a trip into an unknown dimension […], examining ancient Rome as if it were a documentary about the customs and habits of the Martians”, as Fellini himself put it. Review our Gay Themed Films Here