Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

by Mikhail Bulgakov

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Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

Unread postby Liz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:23 am

Take a look at some of the videos of the movies, TV shows and stage presentations that have been made of The Master and Margarita, if you haven’t already. I’ve tried to include as many as I could find below.

Comment on how they translate to screen or stage.









[youtube]33TqxF3BhBM[/youtube]

[youtube]KZsdr5WUE2s[/youtube]

This is a montage from the TV series.


WARNING: Some nudity

[youtube]7zbwxlWlYfc[/youtube]

To watch the entire show start here:

[youtube]pTnFTlVQe4Q[/youtube]

[youtube]vq5xVrhl5z0[/youtube]

[youtube]PY1tH6hhvNo[/youtube]

[youtube]2uthc75na-4 [/youtube]
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:30 pm

I have mentioned before that I purchased DVDs containing the 10-episode TV series of the Master and Margarita. I found it to be an excellent portrayal of the book's story. At times it seemed as though the English subtitles were taken directly from the book, which of course they might have been because the program was recorded in Russian and the subtitles were a translation. There were many things in the book that were hard for me to imagine, and this series gave me a good visual idea of what transpired. As our discussion has progressed, I probably "see" the movie scenes when I am attempting to answer questions more than I remember the printed pages. Behemoth was wonderfully depicted! I am not sure how much was a man in a cat suit and how much was helped along by CGI, but it was great! I highly recommend this TV presentation.

Sympathy for the Devil took on a whole new meaning. I love that!

As to the rest, I think the portrayals depict more of an impression or reaction to the Master and Margarita than they do a literal translation to another medium. The dance and the animation were fun, but unless a person had read and digested the book, I don't think they would have meant much.

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Re: Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

Unread postby Liz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:18 pm

Great review of them, nebraska. And I would agree.

I haven't had a chance to watch the entire TV series. (Life, you know. :banghead:) But the first part was a very accurate depiction. It seemed to me it followed the book quite well. And the montage seems to indicate that in continued in that vein. I think the visuals are very good. Love the flying on the broomstick, the depiction of the characters. I think that they were right on - down to the hair color and stature of what I would have expected. I was really having a hard time visualizing Behemoth, though. I think it's a good depiction (and I'm not sure if he's in a catsuit or not or combo, as you said) but something is off for me, but I can't tell you what. That's just a tough character to recreate.

The other films are OK, to me, but just not as close to how I envisioned it as TV show is.

I really like your description of the others, that they are more an "impression." Just a different way of interpreting it, not bad, just different, and a way of honoring the story.

I like the Video Jack video, but some of it doesn't make sense - especially the first part. But it is certainly creative.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:15 pm

I definitely preferred the TV series over the 1972 movie. It's definitely a book that needs to be thought about, and having a series that unfolds over time, is more useful to that need to reflect. I wasn't impressed by the Margaritas, at least what I saw. They seemed too sad, too withdrawn.

I have to admit, however, that I loved the color and artistry of the staged presentations. Yes, I agree with Nebraska, they couldn't possibly stand in for the book. Familiarity with the text would make the experience of seeing either presentation richer. Sometimes though, a stage adaption comes at a thing from such a dynamic manner, that it becomes an experience in itself. It stands alone. And then, if you read the book afterwards, I think you would bring the staged work into the book with you.

I would love to see the book turned into a partially animated/partially live action movie that draws extensively on the art of the period, music of the period. Something downright expressionist yet also abstract. I think the DC performance did a little of what I'm talking about (the feel I am going for is rather like Cabaret if you remember that play.)

I am still thinking about the fact that the guy who wanted to make a musical decided it was impossible, and I really don't get that. Maybe he was thinking too straightforward, too driven by the need to capture the entire story? Why shouldn't performance art translate the essence of a story from text to image? And the rules of image are different, more impressionistic, faster and very vivid.

I believe the desire to capture this story will not die. You read the book, it lives in your head in a highly visual manner. And you simply would love to see all of that standing in front or you, or framed up on a screen towering over you. Yes, the ideas are what make us come back over and over, but it's the image-stuff like Behemoth on one edge of the scale, and suffocating atmosphere of Yerushalaim that now live in our brains in a dream-like manner. It's that "dream" that any production needs to capture.

.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Master and Margarita Question #29 - Film, TV & Stage

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:47 pm

Wow – the TV series looks amazing, and yes, appears to be very true to the book. That is probably why it appealed to me so much. Seeing the montage and reading nebraska's recommendation really makes me want to watch the entire series. :cool: Interpreting it as a series not only allows the audience more time to digest it, as firefly said, but also allows the filmmaker more screen time, which probably translates into fewer cut and combined scenes.

I do think I’d enjoy either of those staged performances – as loose artistic interpretations. (I think I would secretly want to rename them to something other than The Master & Margarita :whistle: ). If well done, they could stand on their own. I’d be interested in seeing a non-musical stage production as well. I think that could be fun, and could really do justice to some of the humor in the story. The Video Jack animation was interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I’d probably better appreciate stills from that animation.

fireflydances wrote:I believe the desire to capture this story will not die. You read the book, it lives in your head in a highly visual manner.
Does it ever. This story sure has captured the imagination of a great many artists, hasn’t it?


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