Dast-Neveshtehaa Nemisoosand (Manuscripts Don’t Burn). 2013. Iran. Written and directed by Mohammad Rasoulof. In Persian; English Subtitles. 125 min.
Cast and crew names withheld. Clandestinely produced in disavowal of a 20-year filmmaking ban passed down by the Iranian authorities, the scathing Manuscripts Don’t Burn brings a whole new level of clarity and audacity to Mohommad Rasoulof’s already laudable career. Drawing from the true story of the government’s attempted 1995 murder of several prominent writers and intellectuals, Rasoulof imagines a repressive regime so pervasive that even the morally righteous are subsumed or cast aside. A lacerating and slow-burning thriller filmed in a frigid palate of blues and greys, Manuscripts Don’t Burn is perhaps the most subversive and incendiary j’accuse lodged against an authoritarian regime since the fall of the Soviet Union.