Archive Fever! 5.0 – Twenty Years After, Il Maestro
dir. Federico Fellini, Italy, 1969, 35mm, Italian with English subtitles, 138 min.
A place that might be ancient Rome is
recreated and torn down over a couple of delirious hours by Federico Fellini.
The Latin text that provides a spring board, a fragmentary account of
debauchery, dissolution, and sexual adventure during the reign of Nero, is
shaken and poured out as the most intoxicating cinematic cocktail the world has
ever seen. Bizarre, jarring, angular, operatic, sordid, stunningly beautiful.
Superficially it is a historical pageant in full sail, but also a dream of the past,
buffeted by modernist strategies.
“Petronious’ Satyricon is a mysterious text, first of all because it is fragmentary. But this fragmentary character symbolizes the very fragmentary nature of the Ancient World as we conceive it today. This is why the text and the world it represents are so fascinating. During the shootings I was faced with an unknown landscape, the fog was so thick that only for few seconds it dissolved and allowed me to see the landscape. The Ancient World is to me like a lost and unknown world. The only way I can approach it is through creativity and imagination, without resorting to any historical background or information.” – Federico Fellini, Un regista a Cinecittà