In this year´s International Film Festival in Berlin the spectators were talking that Dieter Kosslick, director of the festival was betting on fresh blood. Hindered to draw Hollywood star power he was focusing on presenting new stunts, including German films and others from abroad.
Berlinale seemed to concentrate on his ambition on fresh films addressing political issues. All 18 films running for the Golden Bear were world premieres and many of the movies shown in Berlin had revolutions in the Arab world for their theme. The international jury led by the famous English director Mike Leigh rewarded the prime award to Paolo, 80 and Vittorio Taviani, 82 years old brothers and directors from Italy.
“Cesare deve morire “ which means “Cesar must die” is a movie based on Sir William Shakespeare`s Tragedy “Julius Caesar” which was put on stage by the prisoners of an Italian high security prison. That is why no actors were present in Berlin as is normally the case. The theater film of the Tavianis began with the happy faces but then when men in uniform appeared, the actors were lead off the stage. Brutus, Caesar, Mark Antony and Cassius were prisoners of the Roman prison Rebibbia. When the heavy doors were closed behind them the men who were just celebrated for their performance were back in the loneliness of their cells. The prisoner who played the role of Mark Antony said, “Since I have met with culture my cell has turned into prison.”
The fascination of this movie lies in the authenticity of the prisoners who are turned into actors and the personal experience these murderers bring into the Shakespeare’s drama. The two Italian directors in their speeches reminded the audience of Berlin that regardless of what crimes the prisoners have committed, they still remain human beings. The thoughts of the well-dressed and party-ready audience of Berlin`s Festival House went to the prisoners alias actors in their dreary prison where their hearts were opened by the magic of culture.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.1, dated April 2012.