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The Master and Margaret (1972)
"Il maestro e Margherita" (original title)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Horror  -  November 1980 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 303 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

The Master and Margaret (1972) is based on the eponymous book by Mikhail A. Bulgakov. The film is set in the Soviet Union under Stalin, it has several story-lines, that are intertwined. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Alain Cuny ...
Velimir 'Bata' Zivojinovic ...
Korovjev (as Bata Zivojinovic)
Pavle Vuisic ...
Azazelo (as Pavle Vujisic)
Fabijan Sovagovic ...
Ljuba Tadic ...
Tasko Nacic ...
Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic ...
Bobov (as Danilo Stojkovic)
Fahro Konjhodzic
Zlatko Madunic ...
Oskar Danilovic
Radomir Reljic ...
Isus Hristos
Janez Vrhovec ...
Branka Veselinovic
Eugen Verber
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Storyline

The Master and Margaret (1972) is based on the eponymous book by Mikhail A. Bulgakov. The film is set in the Soviet Union under Stalin, it has several story-lines, that are intertwined. Maestro Nikolai Masoudov (Tognazzi), a talented writer, and his assistant Margaret (Farmer), are working on a biblical story of Pontius Pilate (Tadic). The Satan - Woland (Cuny), and his lieutenants, are harassing Master by surveillance, by killing his friend, and sending another friend to Gulag prison in Siberia. Victimized by their harassment, Master becomes paranoid, and is locked up in a mental institution. Margaret is trying to save him regardless of the danger. Written by Steve Shelokhonov

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The Master and Margaret  »

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User Reviews

 
Variation On A Theme
26 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I wonder if the current obsession with CGI wouldn't help with an adaptation of Bulgakov's more-or-less unfilmable novel. That said, this version isn't really all that, or really all that bad, or good either, but I believe can't truly be viewed as a 'faithful' filming of the book.

Bulgakov's book is, in many ways (but not exclusively) a desperate plea to Stalin to be left to create. Bulgakov wrote that book as a weird, confused and twisted confession of his fear, loathing, respect and honor of a terrible man who controlled his destiny and existence. Because of the kaleidescope of visions and ideas in the book, it's almost more of a mood piece than anything else, but most of all, a record of The Terror and Bulgakov's reaction to it.

In fact, by all accounts, Stalin liked the book and for that reason allowed Bulgakov to live, but considered the work too much for the masses and kept such things suppressed despite his own personal regard for the author. I bring this point up because without understanding WHY the book was written the supposed failure of the Yugoslav adaptation makes no sense.

This movie is not a faithful version of the book as it essentially uses the characters, features, and settings of the book for a totally different end; in the book, Bulgakov was using caricatures of various 'evil' personages to flatter Stalin; the end effect is to honor a great and powerful figure. In this Yugoslav version the ideas of The Devil are economic and ideological, not really artistic or aesthetic, and bluntly presented. It's extremely difficult, VERY difficult, to not see Tito in the character of The Devil.

I wasn't paying too much attention, to be honest, until the staged scenes of 'Black Magic', and when that got going I almost fell out of my chair. At that point I watched the entire movie again.

I'm unsurprised this film was suppressed. Holy Moley.

Anyway, as an adaptation of Bulgakov's famous (infamous?) novel, this movie doesn't work; as a seminal and very important piece of Yugoslav dissident filmmaking, it's pretty close to a masterpiece. Watch it for what it is.


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