The maestro’s thumb-through of Petronius finds ancient Rome to be as joyless and overheated as modern Rome. Fellini described it as “science fiction of the past”. Much revelry, debauchery and grotesquery ensues in a world that bears less resemblance to history than to Fellini’s subconscious. A gorgeous but deeply pessimistic film. Fellini’s name was later added to the title to distinguish his film from the previous year’s copycat Satyricon from producer Alfredo Bini.