Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Caesar Must Die
Paolo Taviani, 80, and Vittorio Taviani, 82, were the big winners at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival. The Taviani brothers’ documentary Cesare deve morire / Caesar Must Die, about a staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Rome’s maximum-security prison Rebibbia – with the actual inmates playing the various roles, was the surprise winner of the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlinale. (Caesar Must Die photo: © Umberto Montiroli.)
“I hope that someone, going home, after seeing Caesar Must Die will think that even an inmate, on whose head is a terrible punishment, is, and remains, a man. And this thanks to the sublime words of Shakespeare,” Vittorio Taviani remarked.
Through a translator, Paolo Taviani explained that “we chose Julius Caesar for one clear reason. We were working in a prison. That meant it was easy to get the message across with this play where actors are talking about freedom, about tyranny, about assassinations, and murder.”
Caesar Must Die is the Taviani brothers’ first film in five years. Their World War II drama The Night of the Shooting Stars won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, while Palme d’Or winner Padre Padrone (1977) was an arthouse favorite as well. But apart from Fiorile (1993), in the last two decades their films have been little seen outside Italy.
Adopt Films will be releasing Caesar Must Die in the United States.
The 62nd Berlinale’s Jury Prize went to Bence Fliegauf’s Hungarian drama Just the Wind. Based on real events that took place three years ago, Fliegauf’s drama portrays a Roma (gypsy) family living in an area terrorized by a series of murders targeting Hungary’s gypsy community.
The Best Director was Christian Petzold for Barbara, starring frequent Petzold collaborator Nina Hoss in the title role as an East German doctor banished to a rural area after requesting a visa to leave the country so as to be reunited with her lover in West Germany.
Nikolaj Arcel’s Danish costume drama A Royal Affair earned two Silver Bears: for actor Mikkel Følsgaard for his portrayal of King Christian VII and for Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg’s screenplay based on Bodil Steensen-Leth’s novel. In A Royal Affair, Mads Mikkelsen plays a doctor who has an affair with Queen Caroline (Alicia Vikander).
The Best Actress winner was Rachel Mwanza, for her performance as Congolese teenage soldier in Kim Nguyen’s drama Rebelle / War Witch.
Ursula Meier’s Swiss drama L’enfant d’en haut / Sister, in which a boy (Kacey Mottet Klein) and his older sister (Léa Seydoux) earn a living by stealing ski gear from an Alpine resort, won a Special Silver Bear, while the Alfred Bauer Prize “for a feature film of particular innovation” went to Miguel Gomes’ black-and-white Portuguese drama Tabu.
And finally, German cinematographer Lutz Reitemeier was given a Silver Bear for artistic contribution for his work on Wang Quan’an’s Chinese period drama White Deer Plain.
Earlier in the week, Meryl Streep received a Career Golden Bear. Several of Streep’s films were screened in Berlin, including the Oscar-winning dramas Kramer vs. Kramer and Out of Africa.
The Berlinale jury was headed by Mike Leigh. His fellow jurors were Barbara Sukowa, Jake Gyllenhaal, François Ozon, Asghar Farhadi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anton Corbijn, and Boualem Sansal.
Taviani brothers’ quotes via AP/Kansas City Star.
Well, it was in 1991 with Ferreri’s film “House of Smiles” that Italy had not won the Berlin Film Festival.