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03-15-2013, 04:24 PM
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Ceasar Must Die (2013), directed by the Paolo and Vittorio Taviani : Now in their mid-80s, the Taviani brothers have been making good films since the '50s (Padre, Padrone; Night of the Shooting Stars). Caesar Must Die is a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with the twist here that the play is performed by inmates of an Italian maximum security prison. Briefly, at the beginning and end of the film, we see the prisoners perform in front of a live audience, while in between we watch the prisoners as they rehearse their roles. For the movie audience, this quite deliberately staged "reheasal" is the performance that we actually watch unfold. A play about power and vengeance, Julius Caesar could easily be set among contemporary Mafia families, so the fact that it is being staged in an Italian prison doesn't seem like much of a stretch at all; in fact, it seems like an inspired choice. The three principal leads are all very good, especially Salvatore Striano as Brutus. His performance is spontaneous, intense and nuanced (he eventually received a pardon and now is a working actor). As the Tavianis intrude no commentary on the proceedings whatsoever, the point of this exercise is not entirely clear. Shakespeare is relevant in diverse circumstances and situations? Even villains are capable of transcending their limitations? Art is inherently transformative? Well, maybe that last one comes with a bit of a twist: after his performance, one of the inmates concludes that only now that he has discovered art does his cell seem truly like a prison.


Last edited by kihei: 03-15-2013 at 06:05 PM.
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