Satyricon (also known as Fellini Satyricon) is a 1969 Italian fantasy drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini. The film loosely follows the travels and adventures of several characters, notably the students Encolpio (Martin Potter) and Ascilto (Hiram Keller), as they fight over the favors of the comely slave boy Gitone (Max Born). Gitone is won by Ascilto, who sells him to the repulsive actor Vernacchio (Fanfulla), whose performances include mutilation of prisoners. True to the nature of the film, Gitone doesn’t mind such treatment and indeed rather enjoys the attention, but the story moves on, presenting a series of masters and slaves in moments of grotesque drama and lurid fantasy.
First screened at the 30th Venice Film Festival on September 4, 1969, the film received generally positive reviews by critics writing in “stunned bewilderment”. Time Magazine reported that the “normally reserved press corps gave the film a five-minute ovation … the Venice showing was so wildly popular that festival tickets, normally 2,000 lire ($3.20), were being sold on the black market at 60,000 lire (about $100) apiece”.