// Presented as part of September's Cinema Italiano! Series //
Paolo & Vittorio Taviani / 2012, Berlin, AFI Fest, CPH:DOX, Hawii, Karlovy Vary, New York Film Festival, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Primavera del Cinema Italiano Festival, Sydney / 77'
In the high-security wing of Rome's Rebibbia Prison, a play is to be performed. The warden speaks to the inmates—many of them violent offenders, still others linked to the mafia—explaining that a theater director would like to stage a performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar here. At first reluctant, the prisoners delve into the casting process and script analysis, centuries-old parlance forging resonances with their contemporary setting. The actors dwell in liminal spaces between their characters and their selves—between guilt, pride, anger, and redemption—as opening night draws nigh.
Embracing a neo-realist aesthetic approach and dissolving the boundaries between reality and fiction, Caesar Must Die is an enthralling theatrical experiment and a testament to the redemptive power of art. Renowned Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's film premiered at Berlin, where it won the Golden Bear for Best Film; Philadelphia, where it won the Audience Award; and Hawaii, where it won Best Film and Best Director. Caesar Must Die was nominated for eight David di Donatello Awards, and is a New York Magazine Critics' Pick.