'Cesare Deve Morire' (Caesar Must Die), an unusual staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in a Rome high-security prison, has been picked as Italy's candidate for the 2013 best foreign film Oscar.
The movie, by the veteran Italian filmmaking brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, is a stark but sometimes humorous study of mafiosi getting to grips with the Bard.
It won the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival.
Filmed largely in black-and-white, it has been described as a "deeply humanist film" that "blends gentle humour with an emotional punch".
In a 40-year career the Tavianis have gained critical acclaim with films like Padrone Padrone (Father And Master), which won a clutch of Italian awards in 1977, and La Notte di San Lorenzo (The Night of St Lawrence), which claimed second prize at Cannes in 1982. Paolo and Vittorio Taviani said Wednesday they were happy at the news that Cesare Deve Morire is Italy's pick for the best foreign film Oscar.
"We're happy, and it's only the start of a beautiful journey. There's a long way to go," they told reporters as they boarded a Rome flight to New York for the New York Film Festival.