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The Mahabharata

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Director: Peter Brook
Year: 1989

Originally a television mini-series of some length (as befits an adaptation of such an epic work as The Mahabharata), this film version has been slimmed by Brook to a mere 170 or so minutes. At times this telescoping shows, as the narrative becomes murky with divine incidents occurring seemingly unmotivated. But myths rarely make perfect narrative sense anyway, and what this film provides exceptionally well is an immersive sense of mythic setting, with the non-naturalistic sets and costumes a key factor in this.

Another part of that is the stylised acting, though for me this was a little too close to a theatrical declamatory style. And while casting actors from a wide range of races (not just Indians) was an intriguing idea, I didn't feel it really worked on screen, as it masked the specific cultural context of the tales and pushed things towards homogeneity (though I accept I may be missing the point here).
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Cinema's Location:
London EC2Y 8DS
Rating (out of 5):
confused ***
Barbican Cinema
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