Yesterday I witnessed another viable and strong statement, a movie which refute once and for all, the skeptic and sad statement, which issued by the illustrious and distinguishe directors like Messers Spielberg and Lukas, about the death of Traditional Cinema.
This time, it’s the Paolo and Vittotrio Tavianni’s film:”Caesar must die”. A film that rekindles two traditins: The Neo realist film and the prison drama.
By shooting the movie mostly in black and white, using real lifers, or long term prisoners at the most secure prison in Italy, the Rebibbia Prison at Rome, the film documents the rehearsals and the performance of the play.
Using a circular line, the brothers open thir film in the ending Shakspearean play. Brutus begs to be killed, by his remaining followers, when his wish granted, he’s being eulogized by Mark Anthony.
The scene switch to the real life, the audience leave, and the actors, who minutes ago busked in their glory, are marched back to their cells.
At this point, we return six months back, the assembly of the actors, their dinamic realatioins with fellow inmates, the director, themselves, all was done in a gritty realistic fashion, and unexpectedly devoid of violence.
Unlike your run of the mill prison film and TV Series, which stress the violence and sometimes the larger than life bizzare episodes, the brohers opted for a more restrained way.
Such an example occur, when Caesare(Giovanni Arcuri) and Deccio( Juan Dario Bonetti), starts arguing, getting out of character, and storms out to resolve their bitter argument. Eight out of ten directors, would’ve ended the scene in bloodshed, not the Taviannis. The actors return, more pacified and resume their work.
Brutus is another case, chocking in one of his solilquies, he recall his friend, and how he couldn’t support him. The actor, Salvatore Striano, a former inmate, has been active in films, TV and theater since 2008. His Brutus is a model example of film actiing, bringing a new dimension to the multi faceted figure.
The last line of this magnificent film is spoken by Vittorio Parella, who portrayed Casca, He can’t go back to the realities of his prison, the art freed him, and the cell, who was his reality, is by now a man with an added elemnt- He’s an actor, he can’t really be a prisoner anymore.
That, is the force of this film, without editorialize, he’s making us fill compassionately with these murderes, drug traffickers, and offenders, and they stop being criminals for one moment, and realize that deep down, they remain humane.