The play is set in imperial Rome, and is mainly about the conspirators, especially Brutus, whose relationship to Caesar lies at the core of the tragedy.
The film was shot at a maximum-security prison in Rome as inmates rehearsed a production of Julius Caesar.
The Tavianis regard the prisoners as human beings, not criminals or cogs in the penal system, and their sympathetic portraits show the direct influence of neorealist filmmakers like Vittorio De Sica, who famously cast poor and otherwise marginalized citizens in his dramas.
Yet the Tavianis' ultimate goal here is to bring a sense of immediacy to Shakespeare and, in so doing, consider why his work endures. The brothers were inspired to become filmmakers in high school when they saw Roberto Rossellini's neorealist milestone Paisan After graduating from college in the early s, they made a string of documentaries, some funded by screenwriter and frequent De Sica collaborator Cesare Zavattini.
These movies followed in the neorealist tradition, emphasizing politics and current events; L'Italia non e un Paese Povero dealt with the lives of peasants, and San Miniato, July chronicled a massacre of Tuscan villagers during World War II.
When the Tavianis turned to fiction films in the s, that connection to neorealism persisted. Before they discovered cinema, though, the Tavianis' first love was literature, and this comes through in their films as well.
When they were children, their father took them to the modernist dramas of Luigi Pirandello, whose self-conscious play with literary forebears was revelatory to them. Whether they're directing original screenplays or adapting classics by Pirandello, Goethe, and Tolstoythey conjure a sense of timelessness.
Their movies are notably lacking in medium shots; they tend to present characters either in long shots, which render them mere figures in the landscape, or in close-ups, which make them seem like towering presences.
In either case the story feels larger than life. This style has a peculiar way of obscuring political concerns while making them seem monumental at the same time.
Even the Taviani films that center on activist characters, like The Subversives or St. Michael Had a Roostermaintain an ironic distance from their subjects, suggesting an ambivalence about leftist politics rather than the conviction of Rossellini's influential war trilogy Open City ; Paisan; and Germany, Year Zero.
It's worth noting, however, that inRossellini presided over the Cannes film festival jury that awarded the Palme d'Or to the Tavianis' Padre Padrone. In their work, realism is a tool to understand something grander than immediate experience.
Characteristically, the Tavianis seem interested in the prisoners of Caesar Must Die for the timeless qualities they evoke.
The film begins with the final scene of the prisoners' public performance, but its first major sequence, which colors the rest of the film, flashes back to six months before the show, as the play was being cast. Theater director Fabio Cavalli asks each auditioning prisoner to state his name, birthplace, and other pertinent information—first tearfully, then angrily.
The Tavianis cut between a dozen such displays, the prisoners emoting in front of a blank wall. Seeing these men respond to the same prompt leads one to consider what makes each distinct. One notes physical differences as well as shared behavioral traits; every prisoner seems vulnerable beneath his tough demeanor.
As with the auditions, many of the rehearsal scenes transpire against plain backdrops.
In fact the Tavianis often seem to be going out of their way to avoid more complex ones. Many of the crowd scenes play out inside the prisoners' cells, the men pointing at their windows to suggest a setting just beyond the wall. Caesar's funeral is staged in the prison courtyard, though without any extras.
The prisoners playing Brutus and Mark Antony deliver their monologues to no one; the Tavianis conjure the image of a crowd with the sound of their voices echoing against the brick walls. Caesar Must Die has the fewest long shots of any Taviani brothers film I've seen, yet the minimalist interiors end up producing an effect similar to their famous landscapes.
Lacking spatial definition, the monotone backdrops evoke infinite space. More importantly, they bring Shakespeare's drama into sharp focus.However, it is thought that portraits of him did circulate during his lifetime because of a reference to one in the anonymous play Return from Parnassus (c.
), in which a character says "O sweet Mr Shakespeare! I'll have his picture in my study at the court.". Jun 13, · Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Act 1, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar.
The play explores this question at length in its detailed examination of Caesar and Brutus Scene ii: (Caesar's house) Calphurnia, Caesar's wife, sees evil omens in the night's storm and asks Caesar not to go to the Prefatory Remarks” in the Signet Classic edition of Julius Caesar before reading the play.
Julius Caesar Performed at New Theatre Effective modern drama eschews the inner struggle of Brutus for a visceral and bloody examination of inevitable revolution and its aftermath. Anthony's arrival and final words - "he was the noblest Roman of them all" - concludes the play as Silva's Caesar finally finds peace, collapsing and dying.
Aug 25, · Today is the official day to start our discussion of Shakepeare's play, Julius Caesar. I nominated this after reading Antony and Cleopatra in the last list because I wanted to revisit these characters in the earlier depiction.
In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar what is the climax of the play that occurs in Act 3, scene 1? The first meeting of the conspirators. The request of Mark Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral.