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Caesar Must Die [DVD]


Price: £5.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano, Giovanni Arcuri
  • Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: New Wave Films
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Nov 2013
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BQJWXUO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,888 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Each year, the inmates of Rome's high security Rebibbia prison, incarcerated mostly for Mafia-related crimes, put on a play. The Taviani brothers follow the rehearsals and performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a play where the conspiracies and betrayals echo the past and present lives of the prisoners. The actors become prisoners once again as they are accompanied back to their cells. As one of the prisoner-turned-actor remarks towards the end of the film: "Since I discovered art, this cell has become a prison."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER on 30 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
This is essentially a documentary, but it is much more than that. It is made by the Taviani brothers (`Padre Padrone' and `Kaos' to name but two). They set up in Rebbibia Prison in Italy where the prison authorities put on a major play every year. We see them announce that they will be doing a sort of updated version of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. The film starts with their triumphal performance in brilliant colour and then we are taken back to beginning some six months prior, and revert to a black and white format.

We see the prisoners audition and get cast and some of their auditions would put most of `X Factors' to shame. We follow them rehearse and learn their lines and get thoroughly immersed in the characters they are to play. Where the documentary melts away is when they perform the play in scenes set around the prison with the guards watching and soundtrack added for more immediacy. The bleak settings actually lend themselves to the story. The prisoners are mostly some big hitters some are in for life and in Italy life means life. Whilst some have no hope of ever being free they seem to universally able to find a freedom of sorts, in acting and the total absorption of the play. No one over acts they are all so compelling that I started to think this was a pretend documentary as there was no way such amateurs from such unsuspecting pasts could be so completely convincing.

It has a real `wow' factor and just flew by. There are so many layers to this in terms of analysis that you have to see it yourself to really grasp the depth of the piece. Shakespeare aficionados please be warned that some of the dialogue is translated into modern Italian or slang, but despite this the beauty of the Bard still shines through. This is a truly remarkable piece of film making and I hope it gets to the wider audience it so richly deserves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorena Vázquez on 10 July 2013
Format: DVD
All actors mostly come into their own when they can identify with their characters' passions at a deep layer of their being. This premise is fulfilled in the Taviani brothers' adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar,' as this tale of power, murder, betrayal and vengeance is performed by mafia convicts at the high security Rebibbia Prison just outside of Rome. The result is a shocking revelation of the catharsis of art, and all prisoners-actors provide remarkable performances, starting with Salvatore Striano (Brutus) and Cosimo Rega (Cassius). Most of the film consists on an abridged presentation of the tale in which the prisoners-actors' rehearsals in different locations in the prison are shot in black and white. One could argue that the dramatic tale acquires a greater vividness among the bare walls and bars of the prison than on its final on-stage representation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 May 2013
Format: DVD
This testosterone-fuelled production masquerades as a fly-on-the-wall documentary but that's a nifty conceit which almost undermines how clever the script and filming truly are.
Caesar Must Die is an in-your-face re-interpretation of the Shakespearean story, acted by lifer convicts in a hard-time Italian jail. It's a short performance - an hour and 15 minutes - which strips the narrative back to the bare bones of the relationships between Caesar, Brutus, Cassius and Mark Anthony. The true genius of this production is that it focuses on only a few key moments from the whole play, yet somehow captures the vital themes and drama of the original in three or four stand-out performances.
It's a bite-size chunk of Shakespearean drama, performed by mafia men and murderers, speaking modern Italian dialogue, sub-titled into English. Logic says that it shouldn't work - yet in practice it turned out to be more accessible than most Elizabethan-style interpretations of this classic.
The director artfully uses the prison itself as a powerful backdrop to the action. The scene of Caesar's murder takes place in the exercise yard, and carries a real sense of mounting pressure and panic. Prison guards watch and comment as Anthony seemingly accepts his fate and shakes the hands of the conspirators... and then the prison population takes on the role of the Roman crowd, crowding behind the barred windows, first applauding Brutus but gradually being convinced by Anthony's speech to take vengeance, and start a civil war.
It's stunning stuff - especially the `incidental' moments which happen outside of the original narrative, where alpha males go toe-to-toe over simmering disputes, or the star of the show suddenly stumbles over his lines, recalling an incident from his criminal past.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An unusual look at Shakespeare, this is a film well worth watching, it is recommended for all.
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Format: DVD
Lucky enough to catch this at the cinema. A thoroughly engaging and really thought-provoking presentation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Don't be put off if you don't like Shakespeare.
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