Office: (519) 913-0312 Info:(519) 913-0313

Caesar Must Die


“Ambition should be made of sterner stuff,” the actor playing Mark Antony declaims in the docudrama Caesar Must Die, speaking to angry and anxious men. The irony isn’t lost on anyone. The actors are real inmates at Italy’s Rebibbia Prison, most of them drug traffickers and/or mobsters, and their mettle has already been amply proven. They’re putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in a theatre inside this maximum-security facility near the city limits of Rome. The play’s themes of honour, betrayal, revenge, power and liberty resonate with these outwardly hard men, who show an astonishing ability to summon and display inner emotion. The film includes auditions whereby the inmates are asked to first depict sorrow and then rage during a mock customs interrogation; the tears and angry words pour out. Winner of the top-ranked Golden Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, Caesar Must Die is the latest film by octogenarian sibling auteurs Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, whose proletarian roots in neo-realism and documentaries are much in evidence. Performance sequences from Julius Caesar, including the brutal reckoning for conflicted Brutus that opens and closes the film, are shown in colour — which the Tavianis deem to be “realistic.” The cast selections and rehearsals are shot in high-contrast black-and-white, a look the brothers call “unrealistic.” That’s because it accentuates the incongruity of the immortal words of Shakespeare being spoken in cells, hallways and exercise yards that normally ring with anguished oaths. It also denotes scenes that blur the distinction between stage illusion and real life, as when it appears that the actor playing Caesar (Giovanni Arcuri) might actually lay a beating upon a fellow inmate he despises. There’s barely a wasted moment in the film, which runs a brisk 76 minutes and contains no female roles. The mournful horns of the score, credited to Giuliano Taviani and Carmelo Travia, evoke The Godfather in their simplicity and insistence. Apart from the tearful and shouted declarations during the auditions, we get no real back story of the participants and only the briefest of descriptions of the crimes they committed. But we’re made aware that most of these men aren’t first-time actors (they’ve been in other prison plays) and all of them find valuable release through expressing the words and emotions of the Bard’s majestic tragedy. The most interesting member of this riveting cast is Salvatore Striano, a former juvenile offender who plays Brutus. A protégé of stage veteran Fabio Cavalli, who directs the play within Caesar Must Die, Striano made his movie debut in Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah, a 2008 drama of Italian mob life. Like his fellow actors in Caesar Must Die, Striano easily unbottles emotions and passions that iron bars can’t contain. They seek to disprove these funereal words of Mark Antony: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Courtesy: Peter Howell, The Toronto StarOfficial Trailer

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Paolo Taviani , Vittorio Taviani
Running Time: 
Italian with English Subtitles
Screenplay by: 

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.