As part of a rehabilitative prison program, inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." As they rehearse, the prisoners, many of whom are long termers and lifers for serious crimes, find that the classic play has both a striking resonance and contrast to their confined lives.
Cosimo Rega,Salvatore Striano,Giovanni Arcuri,Antonio Frasca
Filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani spent six months filming rehearsals for a stage production of "Julius Caesar" by prisoners of Rome's Rebibbia penitentiary, who quickly descend into Shakespeare's universal realm as they explore themes of life, death, friendship, betrayal, honor and treachery that shape the human experience. Shooting in rich, stunning black and white behind the cement walls of the prison and under the glorious Roman sunlight that drenches its yard, the Taviani's follow theater director Fabio Cavalli who frees the men to perform in their native Roman, Calabrian and Neopolitan dialects as they unleash their own experiences in to the text. As the convicts enmesh their emotions and personal histories with the story, a visceral trajectory unfurls and transcends the play itself as the dynamic between the characters bleeds into their daily reality behind bars. A work that defies categorization, CAESAR MUST DIE is the Taviani's new entry into the annals of the masterpieces of Italian cinema.