This is a science-fiction film that looks backward into the past, according to its director Federico Fellini, and it takes an outrageous and surreal look back to the debauchery, gender-bending and rampant hedonism of Nero’s Ancient Rome.
Homophobes probably won’t enjoy it much as what seems to be a sulkily pretty young girl in a publicity still turns out to be a sulkily pretty young boy, and gliding around androgynously in a little white mini-toga, no less. Those hoping to enjoy lovely young nymphs will have to wait until near the end of the film when a particularly lovely young one cavorts flirtatiously in front of two homosexual males, giving them a chance to reveal any lurking bi-sexuality.
Alongside all this Fellini’s 1969 Oscar-nominated film is gripping from the beginning, and a colourful, arty and stylish dreamscape of excess punctuated by some nightmarish violence, seriously weird but undoubtedly watchable, to see what shocks happen next.
Fellini:Satyricon has been released in Blu-ray format, a UK first which enhances the colour and detail, by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema series. There is a choice of sub-titles or an English dub-track, and a 36-page booklet with material by Fellini that will give more understanding of his unusual and ground-breaking work.