Master and Margaret 1-2

Some 20 years after his notorious "Dog`s Heart" Bortko has once again taken up the challenge of transferring a work of Mikhail Bulgakov to the big screen. Sadly the screen isn`t that big after all - the film is done in form of 10 episodes as a TV series. Most people probably know that TV series usually don`t have neither the money, nor the quality of a real big screener. But in case of Russia you can never know anything - one thing Russians are known for is their unpredictability. And sure they have once created some of the best TV mini-series ever, including "Mesto vstrechi izmenitj nelzja", "17 mgnovenij vesni", "The adventures of Sherlock Holmes" etc. But it all was in the old days when hobbits still happily lived in the snows of Siberia behind fences with barbed wire and guarded by tall and splendid looking goblins. In the modern days Russians have mainly switched to doing Hollywood-like action films, patriotic bullshit (also Hollywood-like) and TV soap operas. Therefore one can`t expect that Bortko would pull off a "Stalker" with his new film. Instead of stepping forward he has chosen to step back and look at the tradition. This comes once again as no surprise, since in "Sobachye serdse" he also used the black-and-white imagery immitating the aura of the pre-war post-revolution Russia. While watching "Master i Margarita" you`ll probably think that the last 60 years of cinematography simply don`t exist in the mind of Bortko - he rarely uses moving camera, editing is pre-CitizenKane styled, music only comes up when the viewer might otherwise not notice an emotionally dense moment etc. And the cat is done in form of a life-size pupper (or something like that) in a fashion a bit similar to that used in "Teenage Witch Sabrina". I`d certainly prefer a stop-motion animation cat in a fashion similar to that of Jan Svankmajer`s films but ok - that`s Bortko`s choice and not mine. So far the film seems ok - not brilliant, but not half bad either. The only thing that really bothers me is that some actors seem to have come directly from a theatre scene thus incapable of not overacting - intonations of secondary characters are occasionally absolutely unbelievable.
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