Cinematography Peter Brook

The Mahabharata

Peter Brook
F&GB 1990
171 min

“It’s a miracle of compression,” one critic said of Peter Brook’s film version of the epic, “The Mahabharata”, an unlikely compliment given its scale. This was the “Iliad”, the “Odyssey”, and “War and Peace” wrapped into one, as some reviewers quipped. It would take six months to read aloud. Brook’s earlier stage adaptation of the same story had lasted for 9 hours. However, the TV version was a mere 318 minutes and the film clocked in at 171 minutes. The drama deals with gods and monsters, warring families, sex, death, and bickering lovers, but was shot in an intimate and stylized way. “The perfect solution was to make it in a studio, Hollywood style, evoking the idea of the dream factory of the era of THE WIZARD OF OZ, when the audience half-accepts that everything is happening on a stage, but a sound stage,” the director explained. In tackling the Hindu epic, Brook demonstrated that Indian mythology wasn’t so far removed from storytelling in other cultures. Underlining the universality of the themes, he worked with a French screenwriter and European, African and Asian actors. “It shows simultaneously the horror of war and the ultimate spiritual meaning of struggle in human life,” Brook summed up the pro- ject. (Geofrey MacNab)

  • Erika Alexander - Hidimbi
  • Maurice Bénichou - Kitchaka
  • Amba Bihler - Viratas Tochter
  • Lou Bihler - junge Karna
  • Urs Bihler - Dushassana
  • Ciarán Hinds - Ashwattaman
  • Sotigui Kouyaté - Bhisma
  • Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Peter Brook
  • Marie-Hélène Estienne
  • Vedavyas
  • William Lubtchansky
  • Nicolas Gaster
  • Michèle Hollander
  • Chloé Obolensky
MP Productions, Channel 4
MP Productions
Related Movies