In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the “Arbiter of Elegance” in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence.
Steven Pemberton <[email protected]>
User Reviews: Fellini engages us through a tapestry of decadence during the Roman Empire with such stunning juxtapositions of exceptional images from a collapsing society that one cannot help but be reminded of our own times and its disconcert morality
The film is freely adapted from Petronius’ book, which is the exploits of two young Romans, Ascilto and Encolpio, as they venture throughout the empire, indulging in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships In the course of this proliferation of sensuality, Ascilto becomes impotent and madly goes for a cure which ends in tragedy for Encolpio
The movie’s treatment of the sexual decadence is remarkably powerful without being explicit In fact, in light of the mental images it presents, it actually puts on view very little on screen But there is a great quantity of mysterious whores, hedonists, gluttons, and gross indulgence in carnal pleasure In the midst of this chaos, however, there is a beautifully light reprieve as the young Romans come across a forsaken villa… A very charming slave girl has remained behind, and she playfully troubles the two men into an erotic game
Apart from that, the sex is portrayed as bizarre, tempting, suggestive of hidden secrets, violating the rules of morality, and going beyond the limit