The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata

Adapted from the Indian epic poem of the same title (the longest in human history, counting 2,000 years of existence and 100,000 stanzas), Peter Brook's Mahabharata is a true masterpiece showcasing all the maker's trademarks – and, most of all, his visual and narrative poetic economy. Following the conflict between two Indian families of common ancestry (the descendants of the gods of earthly harmony, patience, and wisdom, and their eternal dark rivals), the screen adaptation of a monumental nine-hour production that helped redefine theater, is a profound, breathtaking, and inspiring expression of mankind’s attempt to make sense of the often baffling and terrifying human experience; at the same time, it illuminates which values are essential for human survival and fulfillment. And as its bearded creator and storyteller says to an inquiring youth in the beginning, “Mahabharata is the poetical history of mankind... If you listen carefully, in the end, you’ll be someone else.”

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Peter Brook
Script: Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière, Marie-Hélène Estienne
Cinematography: William Lubtchansky
Editing: Nicolas Gaster, Michèle Hollander
Sound: Daniel Brisseau, Dominique Dalmasso
Music: Toshi Tsuchito
Actors: Erika Alexander, Maurice Bénichou, Georges Corraface, Mamadou Dioumé, Amba Bihler, Lou Bihler, Urs Bihler, Ciarán Hinds, Sotigui Kouyaté
Production: MP Productions
Producers: Michael Propper
Co-production: Channel 4, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Costumes: Chloé Obolensky
Production Design: Chloé Obolensky
Format: DVD
Color: Color
Production Country: USA, United Kingdom, France
Production Year: 1989
Duration: 312΄
Awards/Distinctions: Emmy for Performing Arts – International Emmy Awards 1990, Audience Award – São Paulo IFF 1990

* Free admission on a first-come-first-served basis

Peter Brook

Peter Brook (1925–2022) was born in London and educated at Oxford. World famous for his pioneering work in the theater, in a spectacular career that encompassed more than half of the 20th century, Brook also directed significant films in Britain and France. He made his debut with an adaptation of John Gay’s satirical The Beggars Opera (1953), starring Laurence Olivier. Brook’s next British film, Lord of the Flies (1963), was an adaptation of William Golding’s classic literary parable on the descent of society. Two of Brook’s most famous theatrical productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s, The Marat/Sade by German modernist Peter Weiss and Shakespeare’s King Lear, eventually made it into films with very much the same casts as on stage. Brook also directed two drama documentaries: Tell me Lies (1968), about British anti-Vietnam War sentiment in the late 1960s, and Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979), the story of Gurdjieff, an Asian mystic. Since the completion of the latter film, Brook continued his filmmaking career in France. His other film credits include The Mahabharata (1989), The Tragedy of Hamlet (2002), and the documentary The Tightrope (2012), co-directed with his son, filmmaker Simon Brook.


1953 The Beggar’s Opera
1960 Moderato Cantabile
1963 Lord of the Flies
1967 Ride of the Valkyrie (short)
1967 Marat/Sade
1968 Tell Me Lies
1971 King Lear
1979 Meetings with Remarkable Men
1979 Mesure pour mesure (TV)
1982 La Cerisaie (TV)
1983 La Tragédie de Carmen
1989 The Mahabharata
2002 The Tragedy of Hamlet (TV)
2012 The Tightrope (co-direction)