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The Mahabharata * Peter Brook * 1990

A masterpiece directed by a true master of theatre (Peter Brook)
Based on an classic Indian epic, Peter Brook & his international team have created masterpiece film. Peter Brook captures not only the story/plot but conveys the nuances & philosophies within this Indian epic. It is amazing that Mr. Brook captures the essence of the characters even in the “stylized” filming. If I am not mistaken, the full version is nine hours long. Nonetheless, it captivates the audience. Peter Brook is a great director. Excellent!!!

This is what it says at the IMDb page of this film. I just pulled it from the shelve at the DVD rental, interested to see if the gigantic Hindu epic would fit in a 164 minutes film. Reading the quote, the film is again a shortened version of a TV-series (which apparently also has a 9 and a 5 hour version). The film is alright story-wise. Slightly confusing is the fact that Gods and men are all just men and rather quickly is jumped from the world above to the world below. Furtunately I have read my share about Hindu mythology, so most of the time when I hear a name, I know what the film is talking about. It looks like Brook stayed quite closely to the actual story, so this film/series works well if you want to get a rough scetch of the Mahabharata.
As for the film itself, in my eyes it is far from a “masterpiece film”. The acting is silly, the dialogues boring and the English pronounciation awfull (which is in a way a good thing, since at least mostly indigenous actors were used). These harsch words do not mean that this is a terrible film. I had to get used a little to the 90’ies overall appearance, but the story and the way the text is dealt with, still make this a nice viewing experience, especially from an educational viewpoint.

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