Cesare deve morire

Cesar Must Die | Cäsar muss sterben
The performance of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” comes to an end and the performers are rewarded with rapturous applause. The lights go out; the actors leave the stage and return to their cells. They are all inmates of the Roman maximum security prison Rebibbia. One of them comments: “Ever since I discovered art, this cell has truly become a prison”.
Filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani spent six months following rehearsals for this stage production; their film demonstrates how the universality of Shakespeare’s language helps the actors to understand their roles and immerse themselves in the Bard’s interplay of friendship and betrayal, power, dishonesty and violence. This documentary does not dwell on the crimes these men have committed in their real lives; rather, it draws parallels between this classical drama and the world of today, describes the commitment displayed by all those involved and shows how their personal hopes and fears also flow into the performance.
by Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
with Cosima Rega, Salvatore Striano, Giovanni Arcuri, Antonio Frasca, Juan Dario Bonetti, Vittorio Parrella, Rosario Majorana, Vincenzo Gallo, Francesco De Masi, Gennaro Solito, Francesco Carusone, Fabio Rizzuto, Maurilio Giaffreda
Italy 2012 Italian 77’ Colour & Black/White Rating R6


  • Cosima Rega (Cassius)
  • Salvatore Striano (Brutus)
  • Giovanni Arcuri (Caesar)
  • Antonio Frasca (Marcus Antonius)
  • Juan Dario Bonetti (Decius)
  • Vittorio Parrella (Casca)
  • Rosario Majorana (Metellus)
  • Vincenzo Gallo (Lucius)
  • Francesco De Masi (Trebonius)
  • Gennaro Solito (Cinna)
  • Francesco Carusone (fortune teller)
  • Fabio Rizzuto (Strato)
  • Maurilio Giaffreda (Octavius)


Directors Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Cinematography Simone Zampagni
Editing Roberto Perpignani
Music Carmelo Travia, Giuliano Taviani
Sound Benito Alchimede, Brando Mosca
Assistant Director Mimmola Girosi
Producer Grazia Volpi

World sales

RAI Trade

Produced by

Kaos Cinematografica

Paolo & Vittorio Taviani

Paolo Taviani, born 1931, and Vittorio Taviani, born 1929 in San Miniato. Beginning in the early 1960s, Paolo worked with his older brother Vittorio on fiction and documentary films. At the Cannes Film Festival, they won the Palme d’Or for Padre padrone and the Grand Jury Prize for La notte di San Lorenzo. In 1986, they received the Golden Lion Honorary Award at Venice for their lifetime achievements. Their films I sovversivi (2002), La masseria delle allodole (2007) and Cesare deve morire (2012) all screened at the Berlinale, with the latter winning the Golden Bear. Vittorio Taviani died in Rome in 2018.

Filmography (joint films, selection)

1960 L'Italia non è un paese povero 1962 Un uomo da bruciare 1963 I fuorilegge del matrimonio (Outlaws of Love) 1967 I sovversivi 1969 Sotto il segno dello scorpione 1972 San Michele aveva un gallo 1973 Allonsanfan 1977 Padre Padrone 1979 Il prato 1982 La notte di San Lorenzo 1984 Kaos 1987 Good Morning Babylon 1990 Il sole anche di notte (Night Sun) 1993 Fiorile 1996 Le affinità elettive (Elective Affinities) 2004 Luisa Sanfelice; TV movie 2007 La masseria delle allodole (The Lark Farm) 2011 Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die) 2017 Una questione privata (Rainbow: A Private Affair)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020