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"Caesar Must Die" Film Review
"Caesar Must Die"
Caesar Must Die, Italy's entry for the Academy Awards best foreign film, is as interesting and as far from Hollywood fare as anything I've seen recently. The film told the story of the staging of an abridged version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar filmed in Rebibbia, a maximum security prison in Rome, with a cast of inmates. The director of the prison play production was the prison's theater director, Fabio Cavalli, who played himself in the film.
The film was in black and white except for the ending when the play was performed on stage before an invited audience. The film provides insight into life in the prison and the inmates who were serving long sentences or life for murder, drug dealing and other serious crimes. They may have had special insight into their roles as the plotters of Caesar's assassination. At any rate their performances were convincing. Some have since been paroled, and others continue to serve life sentences. As they auditioned for parts in the production, the film introduced each of the actors including date and place of birth, crime and sentence. All of them performed their roles quite convincingly and were humanized by the film. Salvatore Striano's Brutus, Antonio Fraca who played Mark Anthony and Cosumo Rega as Cassius were outstanding in their lead roles.
The film was directed by brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
2-6-13NYTimes Film Review by Manohla Dargis
- ‘Caesar Must Die,’ by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani - NYTimes.com
“Caesar Must Die” sets Shakespeare’s play in an Italian prison, using inmates to tell the tale of politics and power.