Caesar Must Die

Director: Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 3.0

The brothers Taviani film the inmates of Rebibbia Prison in Rome 'performing' Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, taking full advantage of the entirety of the prison's areas (the cells, the courtyard, the staircases) and showcasing the surprisingly impressive talents of the prisoners chosen to participate. Though this is a notably truncated adaptation of the play - and given to numerous digressions and improvisations - the overall effect is brief, minimalist and strong. The Tavianis don't explore the preparations for the production exhaustively - or spend time speaking with the principle players on a human level - however it's been suggested that in-prison theatre programs are actually a positive humanistic tool for those incarcerated, and of course with backgrounds as nefarious as these gentlemen have, they appear very able to channel their pent-up rage and years of experience into their performances. The Tavianis have been making pictures for decades, but this peculiar proto-documentary reminds me of the work of Straub and Huillet.