‘Caesar Must Die’ betrays the power of its premise

Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die)

Directed by Paolo Taviani and Vittoria Taviani

Written by William Shakespeare (excerpts from “Julius Caesar”), Paolo Taviani and Vittoria Taviani

2012, Italy

Anyone who walks into a screening of Caesar Must Die with the belief that they will be seeing a documentary should know this now: Caesar Must Die is not a documentary. It can barely be called a docudrama. It rather belongs in the curious category of metafilm, nestled among those pictures that blur and obscure the line between fact and fiction, demolish the fourth wall and are so conscious of themselves that they may disappear into a spiral of self-referentiality. Metafilms can be some of the most innovative and invigorating pieces of cinema when successful, but when they are not they can materialise as hollow exercise or dense nuggets of intellectual tedium.

This film by the brothers Taviani, awarded the Golden Bear at
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