13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2011
Having previously read the book, I thoroughly enjoyed this ten part Russian television adaption which followed the plot of the original very closely. The sub-titles are poor, being out of synch for the first hour or so and then just deficient, but they are not so bad that you cannot follow what is happening. In contrast, the visuals are of good quality and the special effects quite remarkable for a television production. The casting pretty much corresponded to how I envisioned the characters and the acting is first rate. A few quibbles aside, I can't imagine the essence of the book being portrayed any better than this.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2012
The production values of the series aren't great - rather faltering video effects and a general feeling of tight budgets but it's well-acted and faithful. The subtitles are absolutely appalling - literal, clunking, plonked into the image rather than underneath it and in places are just plain wrong. If you don't know the novel then you might draw blanks from a lot of the dialogue. Despite that, it works as a drama and is a good addition to the collection of anyone who loves the book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2009
There are many excellent things to enjoy. How rare to find a dramatisation that is so faithful in detail and spirit! Problems? There are deviations, but they rarely distract (Hella lacks her scar, Nikkanor Ivanovich's dream has gone, the ball scenery is simplified etc.), though the subtitles are risible!! Neither AnB nor M.Allen seem too at home in English so perhaps they wouldn't notice.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2012
Vladimir Bortko is the master of Bulgakov on screen, there is no doubt about that and this film is an enormous undertaking. Perhaps after The Heart of the Dog which was faultless, my expectations were that of a miracle which didn't quite happen, may be the film is too long and detailed for its own good, or Kovalchuk and Galibin don't quite deliver as Master and Margarita, I am not sure. I found myself thinking - is this the man / love worth selling one's soul to the devil for? Is Margarita as portrayed by Kovalchuk really the woman to head the satan's ball? I think sometimes these two lacked courage. Sometimes it seemed that they are so in awe of their characters that they almost disconnect emotionally for fear of overplaying. The other cast - some better suited than others, no point going over each and every one. I just have this impression that the film could have done with that extra bit of final revision but of course, Bortko cannot disappoint, just see what he's done with The Idiot
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2011
The streets of Moscow lay empty while this series was in tv. With good reason. Bulgakovs book is a masterpiece. This realisation too. What actors. What performances. What a autopsy of the inner logic of sovjet communism in the thirties. This set is one of the centers of my collection of dvd's just like the novel is one of the centers in my collection of books. Cp
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2012
I have not bought the item yet, but have seen the TV series about two years ago and I was just amazed! I never have big expectations when comes to my favourite book's adaptation into a film, but this one is very close to perfect. Almost everything fits the book, maybe some details were ommited, but still Vladimir Bortko did a great job. I believe that Bulgakov would appreciate it. Closing eyes on the rather poor subtitle job, I can recommend the film/series to any Master and Margarita book lover.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2014
The translation did not begin until the first words were spoken in the film. Subtitles sometimes were allowed to be four lines, Very interesting. Also, the use of black and white here and there resulting in "are they really clear about this concept"-thinking on the onlookers part. These properties added in fact to the experience in a nice, soviet, low budget way :0). Nowadays we are used to the computer imagery in films such as Lord of the Rings. This film is lacking in that department. Still it's a good movie if you like the story. I do. I did enyoy seeing it and so did the rest of my family. All had read the book and the film is pretty true to the written story. Since the film is more than 4 hours, most of the book is covered in detail and when one get used to the way it's made it's a nice experience seeing it.
Amazon tells you that many who bought this film also bought the BBC film version of the Gormenghast trilogy. I can''t recommend that one whatever glasses you have on, though buying it seemed like a compelling option at the time. Too much of the written story is left out.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2007
I first read the book in the 70's, not sure exactly when. To put it mildly, the book blew my mind. I enjoyed, aznd still do, and knew there was a poitical edge to it, but like any good book, it can be read without knowing the political background.
Checking IMDB.com I find that it has been filmed several times. I saw the Italian version in the mid 70's, and the best thing that can be said about it is that it appears to have disappeared. This was not one Ugo Tognazzi's better films, in fact I wouldn't be surprised to know he was ashaned of it. If not, he should be.
There was a reference to the 1994 version, reputedly the best one ever made. Well, the into was a bit aqmbigous, it seems to imply that thie was the 2005 version. Well it isn't, it is the 1994 version.
I had seen parts of it Youtube, but none of it was subtitled, or only parts of it. I fell in love with that version, and low and behold, this is the version on Youtube.
What is the storyline? Prof. Wolen comes to Mosgow, and has a meeting with 2 writers. Only this is not some history proffesor, but Satan incarnate.
So, the story comes in 3 part, bathetically. One part involves Satan, a hilarous trouble maker and large, walking talking cat. The adventures of the cat, Behemoth and jokestar, Koroview make up the funniest parts of the film. It was in fact the role of Koroviev that attracted me to the film, the actor is plainly enjoying himself.
The love story is about the Master, and his lover, Margarita. The 2nd half of the film revolves around Margarita and her attempts to get the Master back.
What connects these 2 stories? the most improbable you could imagine: Pontius Pilate and Jesus. The Master wrote a novel about Pilate; Satan tells the story of the trial to Berlioz and a poet; and at the end we realise that the story is the one that the Master wrote.
Highlights to watch for: the black magic performance of Woland and crew at the Variety theatre; Maragarita's night ride through Mosgow; The qalk through hell.
I won't tell you how it ends, that part of the fun.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2010
I purchased this 3-DVD set from needful_things and was disappointed twice. First of all, it's a pirated copy, which is evident from the poor quality of print and lack of any certificates or labels proving its authenticity. Having said that, the quality of picture and sound is very good. The biggest disappointment came from the subtitles, which are ridden with typos and grammar mistakes. It feels like a 1st year college student in Russia, who does not yet have a good grasp of the intricacies of English grammar, has translated it using a dictionary. It's not horrible to the point of being unable to watch it, but very disappointing, considering you pay the price of genuine item for something substandard and unprofessional. I am giving it two stars purely for the brilliance of Bulgakov and the amazing Russian actors.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2011
Enjoyable to watch this flawless stunningly artistic television adaption without subtitles (DVD has none), which wouldn't do credit to the subtleness of the remarks anyway, while having the book readily at hand. Many peoples in post-war Europe have their national TV-epic, the Germans have their HEIMAT 3, but this is unreachable.