Manuscripts Don’t Burn
Cert: 15 Year: 2013 Length: 124 mins Language: Persian
Cinema Handout (PDF 76KB)
Score: 58.18% Attendance: 70
If we tell you that all the cast and crew of this film except the director chose to remain anonymous then that probably tells you all you need to know about the state of repression in Iran today, which this film is challenging head-on.
In the 1990s, 'allegedly', the government attempted to eliminate the threat of a group of writers by driving them all off a cliff in a coach; the plot of this film is based around a manuscript written about this event. Not content with repressing the book, 'a former dissident turned state intelligence minister now wants to wipe this event from memory' - Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter. Two hired thugs are attempting to find anyone who has a copy of the manuscript, to retrieve and destroy it...and to 'neutralise' the holder...
Director Mohammad Rasoulof has been banned from making films for 20 years, but continues to make them secretly before smuggling them to other countries for release. His previous films ('Iron Island', White Meadows') used the poetic symbolism familiar to us from directors such as Kiarostami ('Taste of Cherry') to mask his political points; in this political thriller he 'goes straight for the jugular, both literally and metaphorically. The results are challenging and alarming; the film-making brave and defiant' - Mark Kermode, Observer. The film won him a Jury prize at Cannes in 2013.
'Its ultimate point - that intellectual censorship requires the blanket elimination of those who pose even minimal threat to the possible destabilisation of the government - rings loud and long. And if a ban is imposed on a film whose ideas have been thickly shrouded in a symbolist fog, then why not have the cuffs slapped on you for something which bellows its fury towards the heavens?' - David Jenkins, Little White Lies
A crackling, tense thriller, graced with beautifully measured performances, that explores with wisdom and sorrow the best and worst in human nature.
Leslie Felperin, The Guardian
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