Satyricon (movie, 1969)

Satyricon ( Fellini satyricon ) is a movie Franco – Italian directed by Fellini and released in 1969 . It is adapted from the eponymous novel attributed to the Latin writer Petronius.

Origin of the film

Foundations of the work exhibited by its director:

“I had replayed Petronius and I was very seduced by a detail that I had not noticed before: the parts that are missing, so the darkness between one episode and the other. […] This story of fragments fascinated me for good. […] The book reminds me of the columns, the heads, the missing eyes, the broken noses, the whole obituary design of the Appia Antica, or even in general archaeological museums. Scattered fragments, shreds that resurface from what could also be considered a dream, largely stirred and forgotten. Not a historical epoch, which can be reconstructed philosophically from the documents, which is attested in a positive manner, but a large dreamlike galaxy, plunged into darkness, in the midst of the sparkle of floating fragments which have reached us. I think I was seduced by the possibility of reconstructing this dream, its enigmatic transparency, its indecipherable clarity. […] The ancient world, I said to myself, never existed, but, undoubtedly, we dreamed it. “

Fellini by Fellini , interviews with Giovanni Grazzini 1 .


In ancient Rome , Encolpe and Ascylte , two students who coexist in the subterranean quarter of Subure where they live in rapine, compete for the favors of their young slave Giton . The three accomplices, in turn disunited and reunited, will live different stories according to their encounters. Encolpe will attend the feast of the new wealthy freedman Trimalcion while we find the trio prisoner of the terrible Lichas. After the assassination of Lichas and the fall of Caesar, which leads us to lose sight of Giton, we join the escaped Encolpe and Ascylte, who spend a moment’s respite in a rich, deserted abode before they remove, with a thief, a hermaphrodite supposed to be endowed with certain powers. Then, if Encolpe is unscathed from his fight with the fabulous Minotaur , he leaves his manhood. In the company of Ascylte, he never stopped finding her by venturing into magical or bewitched lands like the Jardin des délices or the legendary Œnothée. At the borders of the country, Ascylte loses his life while Encolpe regains his virility before embarking on a new island and a life of another dimension.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Fellini Satyricon
  • French title: Satyricon
  • Director: Federico Fellini
  • Assistants: Maurizio Mein , Liliana Betti and Lia Consalvo
  • Scenario: Federico Fellini in collaboration with Bernardino Zapponi and Brunello Rondi , according to the work attributed to Caius Petronius Arbiter, known as Petronio
  • Translation for Latin: Luca Canali
  • Sets: Danilo Donati , Luigi Scaccianoce , Federico Fellini
  • Costumes: Danilo Donati
  • Director design sets: Giorgio Giovannini
  • Pictorial advisor: Antonio Scordia
  • Pictorial Supervisor: Italo Tomassi
  • Assistants-decorator: Dante Ferretti and Carlo Agata
  • Assistants-Costumer: Franco Antonelli, Renzo Bronchi, Dafne Cirrochi and Farani
  • Makeup: Pierino Tosi
  • Hairstyles: Luciano Vito
  • Wigs and masks: Rino Carboni
  • Photography: Giuseppe Rotunno
  • Optical effects: Joseph Natanson
  • Framing: Giuseppe Maccari
  • Sound: Oscar De Arcangelis
  • Editing: Ruggero Mastroianni assisted by Adriana Olasio
  • Supervisor editing: Enzo Ocone
  • Liaison: Norma Giacchero
  • Special effects: Adriano Pischiutta
  • Original music: Nino Rota
  • Music contribution: Tod Docksader , Ilhan Mimaroglu , Andrew Rudin 2
  • Casting: Enzo Provenzale
  • Production: Alberto Grimaldi
  • Production Manager: Roberto Cocco
  • Production Supervisor: Lamberto Pippia
  • Production Companies: Produzioni Europee Associati (Italy), Associated Artists (France)
  • Distribution Companies: Associated Artists (France), Carlotta Films (France)
  • Country of origin: Italy , France
  • Original languages: Italian , Latin
  • Format: color ( DeLuxe ) – 35 mm – 2,35: 1 ( Panavision ) – Dolby sound
  • Genre : dramatic comedy , peplum
  • Duration: 124 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Italy  (first in Rome)
    •  la France 
  • (en) Classifications CNC : prohibited under 12, Arthouse (visa o 35179 issued)


  • Martin Potter : Encolpe
  • Hiram Keller : Ascylte
  • Max Born : Giton
  • Magali Christmas : Fortunata
  • Alain Cuny : Lichas
  • Capucine : Tryphene
  • Salvo Randone : Eumolpe
  • Lucia Bosé : the suicidal matron
  • Mario Romagnoli (Il Moro) 3 : Trimalcion
  • Fanfulla : Vernacchio
  • Donyale Luna : Œnothea
  • Joseph Wheeler : The Patrician Suicide
  • Tanya Lopert : Caesar
  • Gordon Mitchell : the thief
  • Luigi Montefiori (George Eastman) : The Minotaur
  • Hylette Adolphe: the Eastern slave of suicides
  • Silvio Belusci: the dwarf
  • Pasquale Fasciano: the sorcerer
  • Patricia Hartley: the sorcerer’s assistant
  • Sibilla Sedat: the nymphomaniac
  • Lorenzo Piani: the nymphomaniac’s husband
  • Luigi Zerbinati: the old storyteller
  • Gennaro Sabatino: the smuggler
  • Marcello Di Folco: the proconsul
  • Elisa Mainardi : Ariane
  • Pascale Baldassarre: the hermaphrodite
  • Danica La Loggia: Scintilla
  • Maria de Sisti: the big brothel
  • Giuseppe Sanvitale: Abinna
  • Carlo Giordana: the captain



2003 : Fellini-Rota (GDM Music)



  • Fellini versus Polidoro: because of the director Gian Luigi Polidoro, who was ahead of him for a few months in the realization of his version of the Satyricon ( 1968 ), Fellini had to add his name to the title of his film, after losing his case against Polidoro . In order not to compete with the Fellini version, United Artists bought the Polidoro 5 movie .
  • French anchor: “A cruel and animal world where sin does not exist. “
  • American Hooks: “Rome before Christ. After Fellini. ” And also: ” If you see with innocent eyes, everything is divine ” (Fellini).


  • Period taken: in May 1969 .
  • Interiors: Cinecittà Studios 5 (Rome).
  • Exteriors: Rome ( Colosseum ), Lazio region ( Fiumicino , hamlets of Fregene and Focene  (it) ), province of Latina ( Pontine Islands , Ponza ), Tyrrhenian Sea .
  • We owe the pictorial beauty of the Satyricon to the director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno whom Ava Gardner said: “The greatest cameraman I know” 6 .
  • “Fellini turns Satyricon ” by Gideon Bachmann : journalist and filmmaker Gideon Bachmann filmed, interviewed and sometimes angered Fellini during the shooting of his Satyricon in 1968. There is still a report, Ciao Federico! presented in Tribute to Fellini at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 .


The release of the film made a deep impression: Trimalcion’s feasts were parodied in the comics Asterix among the Helvetii .

“The film was previewed at American Square Garden 7 , immediately after a rock concert. There were some ten thousand young people. Heroin and hashish were breathed into the smoke of the room. […] The projection was only enthusiasm. At each shot, the kids applauded; many of them slept, others made love. In this total chaos, the film unfolded relentlessly on a gigantic screen that seemed to reflect the image of what was happening in the room itself. Satyricon seemed to have found its natural site, in an unpredictable and mysterious way, in this environment among the most improbable. He seemed to be no longer mine, in the sudden revelation of such a secret deal,Rome’s ancient memory and this fantastic public of the future. “

Fellini by Fellini , interviews with Giovanni Grazzini 1 .

“Poor Fellini ! His genius does not let go. Inguishable, he is. Here is his last masterpiece. […] This is the most awesome film of Fellini certainly, because it was a long time since I had looked so much my watch during a projection and as much ogled on the side of the exit. Ah! That he had talent, Fellini, when he had only talent! “

– Michel Duran, The Duck Chained , December 17, 1969.

“The film presents itself as a masterpiece of pure cinema, an intimate and personal creation, a fireworks display of stunning images of beauty. That the approach is not Cartesian, that there is in the Satyricon a lot of rhetoric and pathos, that does not detract from the amazing creation of Fellini . […] It’s a multi-dimensional film: you can feel the breathing of the cinema giant who is the author and his desire to do something other than pasteboard. […] There are few living filmmakers capable of making us experience such emotions today. “

– Henry Chapier , Combat , September 5, 1969.

“It is with wide eyes, all mental barriers abolished, that we must let ourselves sink into this torrent hallucinated, this poem-river of a monstrous beauty and scary. The Satyricon of Fellini is a medium film that appeals to the most basic dark forces of the soul. It is not approached without alarm. “

– Claude Veillot, L’Express , December 8, 1969.

“The show is amazing. Terrible and sublime at the same time, because Fellini transcends ugliness in beauty. His art of staging, his plastic genius, this baroque inspiration that allows him to orchestrate in virtuoso his delusions, this ease of grand seigneur to take advantage of the gigantic means offered to his prodigality, we are worth unforgettable sequences. It happens however that this series of “paintings” without dramatic structure creates in the long run an impression of monotony. […] Taken separately, each image amazes us. But, beyond this wonder, we feel nothing, except the vague terror and sad disgust that can cause a meeting of monsters in the midst of corpses. “

– Jean de Baroncelli , The World , December 20, 1969.

“It’s a grandiose delirium. And a plastic beauty to take your breath away. A succession of shots that we would like to suspend at every moment the flow, the time to admire at leisure – and to identify – the implicit reference to this or that painter. […] This film is a painter’s film. Fellini-Satyricon gives the impression of a sumptuous museum, no longer imaginary, but animated by a movement at once as ample as that of a river, and tormented as if this river were cut by rapids and abysses where to swirl. “

– Jean-Louis Bory , The Nouvel Observateur , December 15, 1969.



  •  Silver ribbon 1970 :
    • Best photography in Giuseppe Rotunno
    • Best costumes in Danilo Donati
    • Best scenery and scenography in Danilo Donati and Luigi Scaccianoce
    • Best actor in a secondary role in Fanfulla


  •  Golden Globes 1970 : Nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film
  •  Oscars 1971 : Federico Fellini nominated for Best Director Oscar


  • 2003 : Ciao Federico! , a film by Gideon Bachmann – Duration 60 min ( 1971 ) + bonus: Fellinikon , The World of Fellini and rushes – Duration 60 min – 1 DVD 9 remastered – Carlotta Films / Columbia Tristar
  • 2004 : Fellini Satyricon (1969) – Duration 124 min + bonus – 1 DVD zone 2 – MGM Home Entertainment

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a and b Editions Calmann-Lévy , 1984 ( ISBN  2-7021-1309-5 ) .
  2. ↑ Sources: BiFi  [ archive ] and IMDb  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ IMDb source : non-existent filmography for Mario Romagnoli, it’s his only acting act; Credited as a set designer for Mario Bonnard’s Three Men in Clothes ( Tre uomini in frack ) in 1933 (subject).
  4. ↑ The Italian label GDM has remastered the stereo BO Fellini Satyriconpreviously edited by United Artists Records / Liberty Records on 33 LP NAS 1241 (expurgated from The Dance of the Apes , ethnic recording originally produced by Le Chant du Monde ).
  5. ↑ (in) Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, ( ISBN  0-299-11440-6 ) , p.  287.
  6. ↑ Ava, Memoirs (Ava: My Story) Ava Gardner, Presses de la Renaissance , 1991 ( ISBN  2856165818 ) .
  7. ↑ In New York .

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