Ceasar Must Die, a reportedly not-great, less-than-commercial documentary by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, the 80-something Italian filmmakers who creatively peaked 35 years ago with Padre Padrone, has won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
Indiewire‘s Peter Kneght reports that “many had pegged Christian Petzold‘s Barbara or Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu as the likely winner, as both received considerable critical acclaim.”
“Mixed reviews out of Berlin and an experimental production method may hold Caesar back from much of a wide release,” Eric Kohn wrote in his Indiewire review, “although it has enough unique appeal to make its way to an alternative release or perhaps a solid television deal.”
A jury led by Mike Leigh looked at the doc, a portrait of prison inmates putting on a performance of William Shakespeare‘s Julius Ceasar, and apparently decided the following before making their announcement: “Giving the prize to the Taviani brothers is not just a vote of approval for their latest film but also a way of honoring their past works and particularly the cinema of the ’70s and ’80s. We will also be saluting creative endeavor by artists of advanced years, which is something we all need to honor and support because we’ll all be there before you know it. This award will also be perceived as a metaphorical renunciation of the lamentable tendencies of the present.
“So it will be the right thing to do all around, and when it’s done we can all go home and smile at ourselves in the bathroom mirror.”