Public and private identities
Chaplin (1992) and Grey Owl (1999)
in Richard Attenborough
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The 1990s was Richard Attenborough's most prolific decade, directing four films with varying success. Despite all his efforts, Attenborough was unable to recapture the same degree of success he had enjoyed with Gandhi. One significant reason could be the change from the serious socio-political themes that had dominated Attenborough's productions, to one focusing on the people whose artistic talents held a particular personal interest for him, and, perhaps, less so for others. Of the four films two explore lives related to acting: Chaplin and Grey Owl. Chaplin focuses on the comic silent screen star, actor and director, Charles Chaplin. Grey Owl recounts the 'pseudo' life 'acted' by Archibald Belaney, an Englishman who masqueraded as a half-bred Native American Indian in Canada. The contradictions between the public and perceived identities which Grey Owl explored were also a significant factor in the film's lack of appeal to both critics and audiences.

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