Full Text

12. Fellini-Satyricon: Petronius and Film

Joanna Paul

Subject Classical Literature » Latin Literature

People Petronius

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405156875.2009.00017.x


When watching Fellini-Satyricon, the audience must fight as never before… their preconception about movies having to tell them a story with a start, a development, an end; preconceptions about historical pictures; preconceptions about myself, personally, because they know that before, Fellini always tells them some story. This is not a historical picture, a Cecil B. DeMille picture. It is not even a Fellini picture, in the sense of La Strada, or Nights of Cabiria, or even La Dolce Vita. They ask me why I make it. How do I know? Because, as a little boy, in Rimini, my papa took me to my first film, and it had Roman gladiators in it? Because for thirty years I have enjoyed Petronius, and now the moment comes right? I cannot answer. (Federico Fellini, quoted in Murray 1976 : 178) The desire for answers, and the powerful influence of our preconceptions – about antiquity, and about the cinema – combine to make the experience of watching Fellini-Satyricon (1969) alternately frustrating, provocative, and rewarding. The Italian director's vision of ancient Rome, adapted from Petronius's Satyrica and yet an intensely personal creation, is a challenging film. It challenges our ideas of conventional cinematic narratives, and of a conventional cinematic ancient Rome which, for today's audiences, is more familiar from movies such as Gladiator (2000) than the Hollywood spectacle ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top