Cinema: Triumph of a Martyr's Will

GANDHI Directed by Richard Attenborough; Screenplay by John Briley

No matter how vast and tumultuous the crowds assembled for its most spectacular sequences, no matter what the cost and care lavished on its re-creation of vanished epochs, no matter how vividly it realizes the violence of great historical forces caught up in deadly conflict, the epic cinema finally depends on small matters—the touch of a hand, a look in the eyes, a whisper of dialogue—to make a lasting emotional connection with its audience. This is particularly true of films about figures whose claim on...