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Gandhi (Richard Attenborough, 1982)

The famous bio-pic of one of the most astounding man ever to live.

It's been a while since I've watched the film, but what most lingers in my mind are the breathtaking visuals, the enormous scene at the funeral and Ben Kingsley's absolutely fantastic performance. Sometimes a film maker has everything at the right place: a great script, a fantastic lead, and an absolutely astonishing locations to set the story in. This is one of those cases.

I consider writing a good biopic one of the hardest things to do. Especially in the case of Gandhi, the biography is so rich and full of details, it takes a master surgeon to disentangle the many possible strands the plot could follow.

Attenborough chose to focus on the bizarre stubbornness of Gandhi. The first couple of scenes keep repeating that theme on less important incidents, but throughout the story Gandhi's will to perservere is gradually exemplified at increasingly difficult situations. Although there is the danger of repetition, the heightening of the obstacles doesn't stop to fascinate. - A weird comparison might be the "36 chambers of the Shao-Lin" where Yul Brynner is put through a number of bizarre tests before he achieves his goal. The big difference is that Gandhi reaches his goal and fails just as epically at the same time.

There are two or three relationships I wasn't quite sure where to put. There's the lady from England, and everything in the movie strongly implies that she was Gandhi's lover. At the same time it is explicitly shown that they're not. I am still quite confused about this - I'll have to read up on that.

Little note on some shots:

The background makes an imposing visual, adds to the "wall of soldiers" in the front. And there is something quite amazing about the -one- guy walking sideways. It makes him look casual on one hand, or like the guardian of the (only?) escape-route for the doomed.
I noted the distribution of shoes(?) in the background was a bit too regular, but it works very nicely in this shot. The man stands in exactly the right distance from the 'abyss' to convey that he is afraid to closer.

Sometimes an images looks straight out of TIME LIFE magazine. The phone call looks like one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if Attenborough had a real photography as example.

 The guys in the foreground were brightly colored clothes which slowly fade towards the right of the image. There is also a visible gap between the foreground group and the men standing at the corner. The shot toward the other direction is shot in shorter lens and from higher up. Consequently, it doesn't look as good as this one.


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