The dreamlike pre-Christian “civilization” of Federico Fellini‘s Satyricon (1970) is employed to reveal history as damned, as lost Sodom, indeed with persons both white and black united in their hedonism and in sexual nihilism. Yes, nihilism: this is what this particular sphere yields. But too much goes on, and with little profundity, in this bizarre, overlong picture. I appreciate Fellini’s decision to show us both hedonists and sufferers (such as those on a slave ship) in this ancient . . . place, and certain sets and other visuals are striking. Satyricon, even so, has no reason to exist. It’s a time waster.
I’ll say this, though: the director-writer exhibits a more acceptable half-male, half-female freak, who’s supposed to be a demigod, in this film than in the rotten Juliet of the Spirits. Interesting, too, is that homosexual behavior here is part of why there is a sentiment of sexual nihilism.