Essential Fellini

Fellini Satyricon

Part of a multi-title set


See more details, packaging, or compare


One hundred years after his birth, Federico Fellini still stands apart as a giant of the cinema. The Italian maestro is defined by his dualities: the sacred and the profane, the masculine and the feminine, the provincial and the urbane. He began his career working in the slice-of-life poetry of neorealism, and though he soon spun off on his own freewheeling creative axis, he never lost that grounding, evoking his dreams, memories, and obsessions on increasingly grand scales in increasingly grand productions teeming with carnivalesque imagery and flights of phantasmagoric surrealism while maintaining an earthy, embodied connection to humanity. Bringing together fourteen of the director’s greatest spectacles, all beautifully restored, this centenary box set is a monument to an artist who conjured a cinematic universe all his own: a vision of the world as a three-ring circus in which his innermost infatuations, fears, and fantasies take center stage.

Picture 8/10

Disc 10 in Criterion's Essential Fellini box set presents Fellini Satyricon in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on a dual-layer disc. Criterion is using the exact same 4K restoration (scanned from the negative) used for their individual Blu-ray edition released in 2015, and as far as I can see it is encoded about the same. This is what I said in the original article for that edition:

A sharp and drastic improvement over MGM’s previous DVD edition, Criterion’s new presentation clearly renders all of the fine details Fellini has packed into the film, from the intricate particulars of the costumes to the background settings. This is easily the clearest I’ve ever seen the film, all objects looking sharp with clean edges, film grain looking clear and natural for the most part (there can be some pixilated moments), and no other digital anomalies of note (no edge-enhancement, no jaggies, no compression noise). Colours are probably the most impressive upgrade. A colourful film, with lots of rich reds and oranages and such, they could look kind of bland on previous editions that I’ve seen, but they look so much richer and purer here; a few scenes with red skylines are particularly striking. Black levels also look strong, with no issues in crushing.

The print has also been nicely cleaned up. There are a few minor marks and couple of splices but they’re rare and far between.

My opinion is still about the same, though I can't help but notice how the the yellow tint stands out a bit more now, even if it does seem to suit the film and is not as heavy as, say, Roma. Black levels don't appear to have been impacted, either. Grain isn't as cleanly rendered as I recall but it still looks fine, and I noticed a few more faint lines than I had previously (still noticed a couple of splices at the top). Despite any of this it's still the best presentation I've seen for the film by far.

Audio 7/10

The lossless PCM 1.0 monaural soundtrack is also the same as the previous individual edition. Again, the obvious dubbing in the film (not uncommon in Italian films of the period) can be a bit disorienting and sound out of place in the film, but the general quality is still pleasing and nothing sticks out in relation to damage. The track still features a good amount of range, music and effects sounding particularly strong.

Extras 9/10

This disc (along with Roma in the set) is more or less a direct port of the individual release, sporting the same presentation and the same on-disc supplements in the same manner. Only the menu screen differs, the menu here designed to match the rest of the set's design. The following was written for the original 2015 release:

MGM’s previous DVD was a barebones release, surprising considering the film’s stature, but Criterion remedies this with a rather loaded special edition here, which first features an audio commentary of sorts by Eileen Lanouette Hughes. I say “of sorts” because it’s not a commentary in the usual sense, but more Hughes reading what would probably considered a summarization or re-edit of her memoir On the Set of “Fellini Satyricon”. Though she opens with an introduction, explaining how she came to the project, the rest of it is her obviously reading a prepared “adaptation” of her work, with her interjecting on occasion her own feelings about the film. She obviously rearranges things around to fit was is going on onscreen, but she talks a lot about the various sets, the casting, the general feel on set (which comes off more like a circus than a film set at times), and what it was like to be around Fellini. She gives great descriptions of everything but the best aspects of her track are when she talks about her conversations with Fellini, which range from how many orgasms a woman could have in a night, to comparisons of Satyricon to his other work (which interestingly had Fellini explain his feelings as to why the character of Steiner, in La dolce vita, did what he did, when that film didn’t fully explain it—admittedly trying to avoid a spoiler there). There’s some other interesting stories (there was a real fear that the other Satyricon production that was going on would steal from them) and a few amusing anecdotes (one actress, when asked if she had seen a Fellini film before, mentions she saw Blow Up), but I did admittedly zone out later on. Some interesting aspects but it felt more like an audio book.

Impressively the disc also features Gideon Bachmann’s 1969 documentary, the hour-long Ciao, Federico!, which he filmed on location during the filming of Satyricon. Though it captures some behind-the-scenes moments, even getting footage of the cast and crew between takes just hanging around, the film is less about the making of Satyricon and more just about Fellini himself, capturing the man at work. Though many talk fondly of Fellini you get a sense that he could probably be difficult to work with, based on footage of him getting flustered and/or angry with cast and crew because they’re not doing what he wants, while also talking negatively about some of them behind their backs. It’s fairly personal and revealing, though somewhat fragmented if energetic (maybe a nod to the structure of the film).

Criterion then gathers a few interviews with Federico Fellini, starting with an audio one with taken with Bachmann in 1969, where Fellini talks about his interest in telling stories and the difficulties in making this particular film. Another one, an excerpt from a French television program called J.T. de 20H, where Fellini briefly talks about the moral elements of the film and how its content relates to (then) modern times. The final is the most amusing one, where Fellini briefly chats with Gene Shalit in what appears to be a New York diner, with Fellini talking about what makes a good film before talking about Shalit’s hair and moustache. The interviews, all excellent, run 11-minutes, less than 2-minutes, and about 2-minutes respectively.

Criterion then includes an 8-minute interview with director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno, recorded by Criterion in 2011 (I’m trying to remember if he was maybe recorded for another one of their releases but can’t recall at the moment [recalling now that it may have been for Senso]). Here he quickly goes over his working relationship with Fellini, talking about their work together on this film and the Toby Dammit sequence in the omnibus film Spirits of the Dead. He goes over the look Fellini would go for in his films, and his concerns that things could “look real” wanting an artificial look instead.

We then get a nice contextual supplement in Fellini and Petronius, a 24-minute segment featuring scholars Joanna Paul and Luca Canali, who was an adviser to Fellini on the film. Here the two talk about the original text (or what’s left of it) and compare it to Fellini’s vision, which actually adapts some elements fairly accurately, though he embellishes a few things and adds his own sequences. It’s a great scholarly addition for those not too familiar with the story.

Mary Ellen Mark then talks about her experience as the photographer on set. She explains how she came to be designated to the film and what it was like on set, while also sharing stories about Fellini himself, whom she loved photographing, and the people the hung around him. It’s a great first hand-account, edited with photos she took on set. It runs about 13-minutes.

The disc then closes with the film’s theatrical trailer.

I also somehow missed covering the Felliniana feature that was found on both that disc and this one. It's a small gallery featuring material from Don Young's "massive collection of Federico Fellini-related memorabilia including posters from around the globe, magazine and book covers, and programs.

It's still a well-rounded set of features, thoroughly covering the production while also offering some scholarly analysis and a look at the texts on which the film is based. The supplements are really a must to go through


It's a solid disc with a decent presentation and a solid set of features, but it offers no notable improvement over Criterion's previous release of the film, and is pretty much an exact replica of that disc.

Part of a multi-title set


Year: 1950-1987
Time: 1691 total min.
Series: The Criterion Collection
Licensors: Intramovies  |  Paramount Home Entertainment  |  Cristaldi Films  |  Gaumont  |  Cineteca di Bologna  |  Studio Canal  |  BetaFilm  |  Corinth Films  |  Istituto Luce  |  MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 24 2020
MSRP: $249.95
15 Discs | BD-50
1.33:1 ratio
1.37:1 ratio
1.85:1 ratio
2.35:1 ratio
English 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Italian 1.0 PCM Mono
Subtitles: English
Region A
 Fellini: I'm a Born Liar, a feature-length documentary from 2002 by Damian Pettigrew that provides an unorthodox introduction to Federico Fellini's life and work and features extensive interviews with the director himself   First episode of Second Look, Andre Delvaux's 1960 series of interviews with Federico Fellini for Belgian television   Interviews from 2002 with actors Brunella Bovo and Leopoldo Trieste, and Fellini friend and collaborator Moraldo Rossi   Archival audio interviews of Federico Fellini and his friends and family, conducted by critic Gideon Bachmann   Vitellonismo, a 2004 documentary featuring interviews with actors Leopoldo Trieste and Franco Interlenghi, assistant director Moraldo Rossi, Fellini biographer Tullio Kezich, Fellini friend Vincenzo Mollica, and former director of the Fellini Foundation Vittorio Boarini   Second episode of Second Look, Andre Delvaux's 1960 series of interviews with Federico Fellini for Belgian television   Presentation of I vitelloni ephemera from the "Felliniana" archive of collector Don Young   Trailer for I vitelloni   Introduction for La strada from 2003 by filmmaker Martin Scorsese   Audio commentary from 2003 for La strada by Peter Bondanella, author of The Cinema of Federico Fellini   Federico Fellini’s Autobiography, a documentary originally broadcast on Italian television in 2000   Trailer for La strada   New audio commentary for Il bidone by Fellini scholar Frank Burke   Interview from 2013 with filmmaker Dominique Delouche   Giulietta Masina: The Power of a Smile, an hour-long documentary from 2004   Third episode of Second Look, Andre Delvaux's 1960 series of interviews with Federico Fellini for Belgian television   Interview from 1999 with filmmaker Dominique Delouche   Audio interview from 1998 with producer Dino De Laurentiis   Trailers for Nights of Cabiria   Interview from 2014 with filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, an assistant director on La dolce vita   Interview from 2014 with scholar David Forgacs about the period in Italian history when La dolce vita was made   Interview from 2014 with Italian journalist Antonello Sarno   Interview from 1965 with Federico Fellini   Presentation of La dolce vita ephemera from the "Fellinana" archive of collector Don Young   Video essay for La dolce vita from 2014 by filmmaker Kogonada   Fourth episode of Second Look, Andre Delvaux's 1960 series of interviews with Federico Fellini for Belgian television   Documentary from 2009 by Antoine de Gaudemaron on the making of La dolce vita, featuring archival footage and interviews with actor Anouk Aimée and assistant director Dominique Delouche, among others   Introduction to from 2001 by filmmaker Terry Gilliam   Audio commentary from 2001 for , featuring film critic and Fellini friend Gideon Bachmann, and NYU film professor Antonio Monda   The Last Sequence, a 2003 documentary on Fellini's lost alternate ending for    Nino Rota: Between Cinema and Concert, a 1993 documentary about Fellini's longtime composer   Interviews from 2001 with actor Sandra Milo, filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro   Rare photographs for from Bachmann's collection   Gallery of behind-the-scenes and production photos from    U.S. theatrical trailer for    4K restoration for Toby Dammit, Fellini's contribution to the omnibus film, Spirits of the Dead, based on tales by Edgar Allan Poe   Fellini: A Director's Notebook, a film by Fellini from 1969, newly restored in 4K   Reporter's Diary: "Zoom on Fellini," a behind-the-scenes documentary   Familiar Spirits, a 1969 interview with Federico Fellini by actor Ian Dallas   Trailer for Juliet of the Spirits   Audio commentary from 2014 for Fellini Satyricon featuring an adaptation of Eileen Lanouette Hughes’s 1971 memoir On the Set of “Fellini Satyricon”: A Behind-the-Scenes Diary   Ciao, Federico!, Gideon Bachmann’s documentary shot on the set of Fellini Satyricon   Archival interviews with Federico Fellini   Interview from 2011 with cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno   Documentary from 2014 about Fellini’s adaptation of Petronius’s work, featuring interviews with classicists Luca Canali, a consultant on the film, and Joanna Paul   Interview from 2014 with photographer Mary Ellen Mark about her experiences on the set of Fellini Satyricon and her iconic photographs of Fellini and his film   Presentation of Fellini Satyricon ephemera from the "Felliniana" archive of collector Don Young   Trailer for Fellini Satyricon   Audio commentary for Roma featuring Frank Burke, author of Fellini’s Films   Deleted scenes from Roma   Interview from 2016 with filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino   Interview from 2016 with poet and Fellini friend Valerio Magrelli   Presentation of Roma ephemera from the "Felliniana" archive of collector Don Young   Trailer for Roma   Audio commentary from 2006 for Amarcord by film scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke   The Secret Diary of "Amarcord," a 1974 behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film   Deleted scene from Amarcord   Fellini's Homecoming, a documentary from 2006 on the relationship between the director and his hometown   Interview from 2006 with actor Magali Noël   Fellini's drawings of characters from the film   Presentation of Amarcord ephemera from the "Felliniana" archive of collector Don Young   U.S. theatrical trailer for Amarcord   Fellini racconta: Diary of a Film, a behind-the-scenes documentary from 1983   Fellini's TV, a 2003 Italian television documentary on Fellini's work in television advertising during the 1980s   Fellini racconta: Passeggiate nella memoria, an Italian television documentary produced in 2000 and featuring several interviews with a late-in-life Fellini looking back on his career   At Home with Federico Fellini, a 1987 interview with Federico Fellini on the importance of Franz Kafka's unfinished novel Amerika to Intervista   Audio interview from the early sixties with actor Marcello Mastroianni by film critic Gideon Bachmann   Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember, 193-minute documentary featuring the actor talking about his life as an actor   Deluxe packaging, including two lavishly illustrated books with hundreds of pages of content: notes on the films by scholar David Forgacs, essays by filmmakers Michael Almereyda, Kogonada, and Carol Morley; film critics Bilge Ebiri and Stephanie Zacharek; and novelist Colm Tóibín, and dozens of images spotlighting Don Young’s renowned collection of Fellini memorabilia