In the rehearsal phase, is in black and

In the words of Stubbs, “the excess of details is, in
a sense, the hallmark of realism”. Perhaps, then, the film’s focus on content over form is due to its detachment
from the rigid desire to be ‘realistic’. In fact, it plays and engages with different
temporalities in a neorealist and almost, minimalist way.  The film is characterized by a lack of medium
shots, especially towards the end of the rehearsals. Characters are either
observed in a close-up, emphasizing their humanity, or in long shots, where
they seem to be part of something larger than them. Likewise, the monotonous
backdrop and the austere, rectilinear interior of the prison complex suggest
the notion of infinity through a lack of spatial delimitation.

The entire scene is marked by intensity; with a
sequential mix of low-angle close ups, similar long shots and fleeting images
of the other inmates, who cry out behind the prison’s windows. It seems as
though we are witnessing something very pure that transcends the well-defined
framework of realistic production of historical knowledge.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Finally,
while a film that deals with different historical times, it does so in a way
that’s freer than most traditional historical films. The form itself is not
clear. According to Bill Nichols, documentaries try to contain historical facts
in an unnatural way. Indeed, history will always be in ‘excess’ of what a
documentary can capture and thus, outside the control of the filmmaker.1
Using this approach, this film is not a documentary because this ungraspable
excess is due to the emotional depth and intensity that is so characteristic of
history. The film begins and ends with the same scene – that of the performance
on stage of Julius Caesar by 

the inmates. The rest of the movie, which essentially
refers to the rehearsal phase, is in black and white, giving the impression of
a film within a film. Thus, the parallel between the two parts seems to be
between the reproduction of the historical source (the script) and the delivery
of the final product. According to Jaimie Baron, this source serves as an
archival document and needs to be reconceptualised to better understand its
central place in historical films. She claims that the strict definition of archival
documents is not as important as the effect they produce. Indeed, they augment the ‘historical truth’ of films that want to reproduce
historical events through the viewer’s subjective experience of sources as
being archival. It seems, however, that this argument does not apply to this film. In their
quest to recreate the play, the inmates are not using the archival source to
augment historicity, but rather, as a starting point for interpretation,
self-expression and emotional catharsis.  Thus, the film engages with the construction of
historical knowledge both in its content and form. First, it does so by
representing the process of historical construction done by inmates as they
identify with their roles as well as through the contrast between the prison
materiality and human emotions. On a more structural level, while a film that engages
with history, it uses a more flexible form than the traditional historical
film, notably due to its detachment to pure realism or absolute cinematic
genres.