'Caesar Must Die', ('Cesare Deve Morire'), has been selected as Italy's candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Oscars 2013.
The Golden Bear winner at the Berlin Film Festival, 'Caesar Must Die' is currently contending the main prize at the New York Film Festival. The ANICA committee selected the film from a strong pool of Italian cinema to challenge for the Oscar that Italy last won in 1997 with 'Life is Beautiful'. Italy has won the most Best Foreign Language Film Oscars with a total of 13, Fellini alone counts for four of those awards. France are in second place with 12 winners followed by Spain with 4.
'Cesar Must Die' was shot almost entirely in back and white in Rome's maximum-security Rebibbia penitentiary and is about a group of inmates, mostly convicted Mafiosi, struggling to stage a public performance of Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar'. It is a stark and, at times humorous, account of some violent criminals forced to confront the nature of their crimes and personal histories through the work of the Bard.
Directed by brothers Paulo and Vittorio Taviani, two veterans of Italian film, received the news just as they boarded the plane for New York. In a career that has spanned 40 years with critically acclaimed films such as ' Padrone Padrone', Father And Master, (1977) and 'La Notte di San Lorenzo', The Night of St Lawrence, (1982).
Seasoned film makers Paulo and Vittorio Taviani
Scooping the major prize at the Berlin FIlm Festival earlier this year in what was described as 'a major upset', the judging panel, led by English director Mike Leigh chose the Italian semi-doc ahead of a host of more controversial and challenging films prompting Der Spiegel to call it 'a very conservative selection'. Critics praised the use of real inmates in the making of the film saying their presence added a real intensity to the film. It has been described as 'a deeply humanist film that blends gentle humour with an emotional punch.'
By Hugo Mc Cafferty