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Their place in Italian cinema was established by 1977’s classic Padre Padrone, and Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (now both in their 80s) return to the international limelight with this Berlin prize-winner, an astute portrait of a Shakespeare production in Rome’s high-security Rebibbia prison.
Book-ended by footage of the actual staging in the facility’s purpose-built theatre, the bulk of the film reverts to stark black and white to follow a cast of killers, drug dealers and life-term mafiosi getting to grips with Julius Caesar. Falling intriguingly between pure documentary and true-life drama, what we see of the rehearsal process allows the prisoners to reflect on their own relationship to this story of power, ambition, honour and murder – which still evidently has resonance for Italian political and cultural life. The result is one of the great Shakespeare films – compelling in the moment and graced by authentically forceful screen presences. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)
These screenings will include Tony Donoghue’s charming animated tale and Sundance winner, Irish Folk Furniture. (9 mins, Colour, 2012.) He will also take part in our FREE Afternoon Talk about his work on March 13th (16.00).