Trippy is as trippy does, even when you're talking about a movie set in ancient Rome. This 1969 Fellini opus was among the most visually arresting entries in a year when the psychedelic experience was trying to claw its way into every movie coming down the pike. But Fellini, in telling a negligible story about two young men tasting the various pleasures of Nero's hedonistic and priapic reign, aimed for images that jarred as well as seduced. He found humor in freakishness, contrasting beauty and ugliness while effortlessly passing judgment on the emptiness of a life devoted to sensation and personal freedom. More of a fever dream than a linear story, Fellini Satyricon
crystallized the director's reputation as a visionary--but may have trapped him into spending the rest of his career (with the exception of Amarcord
) trying to top himself in reaching new levels of outrageousness. --Marshall Fine
Encolpius is a Roman student who begins by arguing with his friend Ascyltus over the affections of androgynous youth Giton. Ascyltus wins, whereupon Encolpius embarks upon an odyssey, partaking in a drunken orgy and being kidnapped by a bisexual sea captain and his concubine. Encolpius eventually rejoins Ascyltus to visit a suicidal Roman couple, join in a plot to kidnap a "sacred" hermaphrodite, and much more. Loosely based on the book "Satyricon" by Gaius Petronius, the "Arbiter of Elegance" in the court of Nero, Federico Fellini wrote and directed this tongue-in-cheek hymn to the "glories" of pagan times via a bizarre journey through the decadence and debauchery of Nero's Rome.