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Presented by Marin Shakespeare
Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Power. Ambition. Loyalty. Betrayal. Inmates of a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Rome act out the big themes in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar as part of the institution’s theater laboratory. Brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (whose 1982 The Night of the Shooting Stars won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes) capture the intense preparations. Shot in black-and-white amid the prison’s stark surroundings, rehearsals reveal the actors’ turmoil as they find their way into their respective characters. Shorn of costumes, elaborate sets and polished performances, the play’s soliloquies, whispered conspiracies and rousing speeches restore the weight of the personal to politics. In this genre-defying film, which won the Berlin International Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Bear, the Tavianis demonstrate the relevance of Brutus’ agonies, Cassius’ cunning and Antony’s protean nature even—or perhaps especially—for the most powerless among us.
Film Note Writer: Shari Kizirian