Gandhi + Black Narcissus

GBN

Double feature: A double feature of epics that will take the better part of a day to watch, the pairing of “Gandhi” and “Black Narcissus” provides ample fodder for considerations of dominion, overcoming, and the good/evil within us (i.e. whether one or both are inherent, and how each has the potential to conquer the other, if only temporarily).

Linked by their visual sweep and bleeding intensity as much as their thematic overlaps and unabashed ambition, these two films differ in their methods of (re-)creation, each painstaking in its own way. “Black Narcissus” is, astonishingly, the product of a soundstage; “Gandhi” is, believably, the product of its narrative’s place. The specific effects of these choices on the power of their films merits further discussion.

For a marathon: “Gandhi” inevitably brings to mind other, differently-scaled depictions of protest or civil disobedience in movies. At the risk of making a direct comparison (which would be disrespectful to both referents), something about the way the heroine of the harrowing “Silkwood” literally embodies her struggle for improved conditions parallels the physical suffering “Gandhi”‘s hero undertakes for the cause of his country.

Also, compare his methods to those in “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” for instructive differences (and similarities, actually,) in media-savviness and the enablements of technology.

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “sabino.parente” and “gatsbyj” at Flickr)

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