Now into their eighties, veterans Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have made a contemporary and moving adaptation of Julius Caesar.
Blending narrative with documentary and setting the film entirely in the high-security wing of Rome's Rebibbia Jail, the directors follow the inmates' performance of Shakespeare's play, staged solely with a cast of prisoners.
Many of the actors chosen through the audition process are real mafiosi, drug traffickers and, in some cases, murderers.
The parallel between the inmates' lives and Shakespeare's drama of revenge and betrayal is particularly striking.
The tragedy unfolds with impeccable visual and verbal logic in what seems like a very short 72 minutes.
It is shot in stark black and white and the images and the strength of performances liberate the imagination and the intensity of the play comes alive.
The story of the struggle for power is brilliantly handled in a dramatic and acutely personal reflection on the acquisition of power and its transient nature, not as an intellectual political debate but as a visceral and violent struggle.
When the curtain comes down, the reality of the inmates' daily life intrudes as they return to filthy cells and insipid food. They remind us that, as Shakespeare wrote, all the drama's participants are "merely players" in the game of life.