The Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear award for best picture was won on Saturday by an Italian docu-drama starring real-life murderers and mafioso.
Directed by 80 and 82-year-old brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, “Caesar Must Die” follows a group of convicts at a Rome jail as they rehearse a prison production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
The film was shot in black and white and the roles are played by hardened convicts serving sentences of between 14 years and life.
The winners were decided by a jury that included British writer and director Mike Leigh, Anglo-French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
“The jury surprised everybody by awarding the Golden Bear to a film that’s half art-house, half documentary,” said Wolfgang Spindler, euronews correspondent in Berlin.
Most critics thought the film Barbara, set in communist East Germany, would win the top prize.
Its director, Christian Petzold, won the Silver Bear for the story about a doctor who was banished to the countryside after requesting a visa to move to the West.