Race, nation and conflict
Gandhi (1982), A Chorus Line (1985) and Cry Freedom (1987)
in Richard Attenborough
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The 1980s marked the apotheosis of Richard Attenborough's directorial career in which he fulfilled his twenty-year ambition of realising a film on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. As well as being a personal achievement for Attenborough, Gandhi represented a key moment for the British film industry through its success at the box office. Whereas Gandhi looks to racial concerns of the past, Cry Freedom explores the contemporary issues surrounding apartheid through the film's focus on the friendship of Steve Biko and Donald Woods. The film made a significant contribution to raising global public awareness of the realities of the apartheid regime of the time. Sandwiched between the two political portrayals, Attenborough directed his second American production, A Chorus Line, a musical adaptation of the stage play, which focused on contemporary racial and social concerns in America.

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