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.
Matt Sobel (Take Me to the River)
“I wanted the film to feel uncanny, meaning simultaneously familiar and strange. The combination of these mixed signals makes us quite uncomfortable.”