The tv-series of Vladimir Bortko
Мастер и Маргарита , the TV-series of 10 episodes, broadcasted at the end of 2005 on the Russian Telekanal Rossiia, scored unprecedented ratings.
It was the second attempt of director Vladimir Bortko to film Bulgakov's masterpiece. In 2000 he had already been sollicited by the Kino-Most film studio, associated with the competing channel NTV, but at the last moment the company did not scceed to come to an agreement with Sergei Shilovsky, grandson of Bulgakov's third wife, and owner of the copyrights. This time, with Rossiia, it worked. And it did not pass unnoted
This TV-epopee of more than eight hours was heavily criticized, or at least regarded with much scepticism, even before it was presented on screen. Sometimes the critics expressed a sincere and well-grounded concern about the authenticity of the series, but sometimes it seemed as if the Bulgakov die-hards behaved like modern Latunsky's by reproaching a movie they hadn't seen yet with sacrilege. Or maybe it was because of the gigantic publicity campaign that was launched to promote the series, and that could give reasons to fear an ambitious, but superficial Hollywood-ish production. But fortunately it wasn't the case.
Yet the series was an event even before it was seen on screen. From the start the Russians could see the progress of the in regular television news items. On this page you can see a selection of these news items, and have a look at the backstage rooms of the studios where the numerous special effects were created.
Director Vladimir Vladimirovitsj Bortko was born in 1946 in Moscow. He studied geology in Kiev and worked there after his military service as a technician. In 1969 he went to the State Institute for Dramatic Arts named Karpenko-Kary in Kiev. In 1974 he was assistant-director at the Dovyenko studio and in 1980 director at the Lenfilm studio.
In 1983 he made his third film, Блондинка за углом or A blonde on the street corner with Andrey Mironov and Tatiana Doguileva, which made him known, but his adaptation of Bulgakov's book Собачье сердце or A Dog's Heart with Yevgeny Estigneev and Vladimir Tolokonnikov from 1988 was a real huge success. He won the Prix Italia at the Perugia Film Festival in 1989.
In 1991 he made Афганский излом or The Afghan breakdown. It was the first in-depth film about the Russian army in Afganistan after many years of Soviet propaganda and censorship. His next dashing exploit was the adaptation to a TV-series of the novel The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky in 2003. De eulogies he received for this were only surpassed by the comments he would get two years later for The Master and Margarita.