Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Animated in Two Minutes

You probably know Mikhail Bulgakov through one of two works: Heart of a Dog, his short novel about the forced transformation of a dog into a human being (comparisons to the grand Soviet project have, indeed, been suggested), or The Master and Margarita, his longer, later novel about a visit paid to Soviet Russia by the devil himself. Heart of a Dog, written in 1925, didn’t see official Russian publication until 1987; The Master and Margarita, written between 1928 and 1940, didn’t come out until 1967. This suggests that Bulgakov’s literary perspective may have touched a nerve with the authorities, but the artfulness with which he expressed it has since lifted him to the top of the twentieth-century Russian canon.




Other creators have paid to tribute to the enormously influential The Master and Margarita with artfulness of their own. We now have at least five films, two television series, nineteen stage productions, two ballets, four operas (though the complicated material defeated Andrew Lloyd Webber’s attempt at adaptation) and a graphic novel based in whole or in part on Bulgakov’s book. At the top of the post, you can watch Svetlana Petrova and Natalia Berezovaya’s Margarita, an animated short that, ambitious in its own way, attempts to capture The Master and Margarita in two ever-shifting minutes of imagery. (Or, as this Russian animation database puts it, “Impudent young animators dare to touch Bulgakov.” ) Though made in 1997, it comes off today as quite a tantalizing “book trailer,” though I would submit that Bulgakov’s writing needs none of our internet-age marketing innovations.

Related Content:

18 Animations of Classic Literary Works: From Plato and Shakespeare, to Kafka, Hemingway and Gaiman

Two Beautifully-Crafted Russian Animations of Chekhov’s Classic Children’s Story “Kashtanka”

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Told in a Beautifully Animated Film by Piotr Dumala

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.


by | Permalink | Comments (6) |


Comments (6)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • chidimma says:

    wow! for more updates kindly send to unec at the university of nigeria

  • merzmensch says:

    Awesome animation – in this case here is represented only the plot part of Margarita. I’d like to se all another parts, if such exist. The Book is genious, it has pretty many layers.

  • alissa clough says:

    I’d nearly forgotten…yes it is Walpurgasnacht!

  • Meghan Johnson says:

    So interesting to view the story from Margarita’s perspective. This calls for a re-read!

  • walter McCarthy says:

    Bulgakov’s sweat blood to write his mimesis The Master and Margarita, religiously nipping at belly of gender and sexuality ad infinitum. Mr Bulgakov, ” I feel your pain.” A great work which only Russian civilization could have given the world.

  • walter McCarthy says:

    Bulgakov’s sweat blood to write his mimesis The Master and Margarita, religiously nipping at belly of gender and sexuality ad infinitum. Mr Bulgakov, ” I feel your pain.” A great work which only Russian civilization could have given the world.

Leave a Reply

Quantcast