Cesare deve morire [Caesar Must Die] (2012)

Cesare deve morire
Director: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Writer: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar
Cast: Salvatore Striano, Cosimo Rega, Giovanni Arcuri, Antonio Frasca, Juan Dario Bonetti, Vincenzo Gallo

In the Rebibbia High Security Prison, they have a theater project for which the inmates are rehearsing and putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. From casting to the final production, the play has a huge influence on the prisoners’ lives.

Caesar Must Die is an interesting mix of documentary and play; and an effective one. The cast is excellent and make the whole thing work more than I thought it would.


As I said, the movie is an interesting blend of fiction and reality. The theater project is real, the actors are actual inmates and they really had a production of Julius Caesar. But the entire production of this movie is scripted. Most of the dialogue is (paraphrased) Shakespeare and there are some fascinating moments when prison life breaks into the play, when Shakespeare becomes a comment on their life, when their personal relationships cause tensions, when the director comments on their performance or they struggle with their roles.

And while Shakespeare, whether paraphrased or not, is great, those moments where the movie deviates from the play are the most interesting. I wished that there had been more of a focus on that part.


The movie starts with the end of the play and at the end, they do repeat that. I thought that that was pretty unnecessary and made the movie – though at 76 minutes very short – a little tedious. I could have done without that.

In any case the cast is amazing. Especially Salvatore Striano, who plays Brutus, is fantastic, though also Cosimo Rega (Cassius) was really impressive. And his final statement was the absolute perfect way to end this film.


Summarising: worth watching.


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