Sunday, December 30, 2012

Caesar Must Die/Cesare deve morire (2012)

Director: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Country: Italy

Synopsis: The film was made in Rome's Rebibbia Prison, where the inmates are preparing to stage Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. After a competitive casting process, the roles are eventually allocated, and the prisoners begin exploring the text, finding in its tale of fraternity, power and betrayal parallels to their own lives and stories. Hardened criminals, many with links to organised crime, these actors find great motivation in performing the play. As we witness the rehearsals, beautifully photographed in various nooks and crannies within the prison, we see the inmates also work through their own conflicts, both internal and between each other. –

Review: Docufiction is experimental at its conservative end. The Taviani brothers’ attempt at the “play within the play” is successful in blurring the lines between the real and stage lives of the thespians. These men are killers and gangsters, Mafia and Camorra. When they recite lines about intrigue and violence, you can see on their faces that they know all of this firsthand. The performances may be occasionally unsure, betraying their lack of training, but this insecurity only bolsters their extraordinary moments of clarity. The raw, violent confrontations that drive the drama forward, in particular the assassination of Caesar himself, could not feel more chillingly natural. These men have a style of acting unlike anything we’ve seen.

The black and white palette predominatly used in the film is interspersed with occasional flashes of colour that depecits the prison life of the “royal Romans”. It takes courage and committement to make a film of this texture. Hats off!

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