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Artist's Choice

Where possible, we invite the artists exhibiting in DCA galleries to select a film to screen in DCA Cinema. To coincide with her exhibition Ghost Calls, Emma Talbot has selected Satyricon.

“At once a celebration of storytelling and a chilling examination of a debauched culture…”

Fellini’s free-form adaptation of Petronius is typical of il maestro. It is sprawling, maddening, self-indulgent, and very flamboyant. It is also an intellectually challenging and visually stunning masterpiece. Described by Fellini as a “science fiction film set in the past”, Satyricon does not even pretend to present its audience with a depiction of the historical Rome, but rather offers a series of fairy-tale-like vignettes, some exuberant, some funny, some dark, but all lavishly mounted and very much for adults. At once a celebration of storytelling and a chilling examination of a debauched culture, there’s nothing else quite like it.

“Fellini Satyricon has to be one of my all-time favourite films – an epic, based on the fragmented remains of a text by Petronius, written in 1 AD,” says Emma. “In this sense, the film is episodic, non-linear and fantastical but also contains lots of accurate accounts of Roman society in the time of Emperor Nero.

“It's totally spectacular – Fellini at his most experimental and ambitious. It’s beautiful, immense, grotesque and stunning. Fellini described making a film about a time so long ago as equivalent to making a science-fiction and it’s precisely this otherworldliness that I love.”

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