Manuscripts don't burn

English > Context > Historical and political > Vitaly Shentalinsky > Manuscripts Don't Burn

In 1997, the Dutch educational broadcasting organisation RVU ordered the making of a documentary based on the findings of the investigation of Vitaly Shentalinsky in the files of the KGB.

The film was entitled Manuscripts don't burn, after the famous statement of Woland in The Master and Margarita. From the numerous search results Shentalinsky the makers selected the records of Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrey Platonov, Osip Mandelstam and Isaac Babel. The part about Bulgakov himself in the film was entitled The Satanic Artist.

The Satanic Artist is presented by Vitaly Shentalinsky himself and contains excerpts from the diary of Bulgakov, rare images from the KGB archives - including the correspondence of Bulgakov with Stalin and Gorky - and an interview with playwright Vitali Vilenkin, who was Dean and professor of history at the Department of Art Studies of the School of the Moscow Art Theater MKhAT. Vilenkin accompanied Bulgakov on his infamous train trip to Batum, the birthplace of Stalin, on August 15, 1939 and talks about it extensively in the documentary.

This production was made possible by support from the Stimuleringsfonds Nederlandse Culturele Omroepproducties. The film was on the Dutch TV on December 3, 1997.


Time: 78'56


Director: Reza Allamehzadeh
Producers: Sjifra Herschberg, Lies Janssen
Editor : Willem van Toorn
Camera: Leon Paquay
Montage: Pim Verdonk

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