Mohammad Rasoulof • Iran • 2013 • A political thriller that strikes at the heart of Iran's regime.
Khosrow and Morteza are hitmen for the Iranian regime. They proceed with their work with calm detachment, convinced that their actions are justified under sharia law. Their newest assignment involves Kasra, a dissident who has authored a seditious novel detailing the government killing of 21 writers. They kidnap the elderly, disabled man, hoping to ascertain the location of a hidden manuscript. As the interrogation unfolds, however, one of the enforcers starts to question their work.
Based on a true 1995 incident in which the Iranian government attempted to murder a group of prominent intellectuals, Manuscripts Don’t Burn is an incendiary piece of political filmmaking, a slow-burn thriller that systematically strikes at the heart of the regime’s censorship and corruption. Filmed clandestinely following a 20-year filmmaking ban, Mohammad Rasoulof's fifth film premiered at Telluride, Thessaloniki, Toronto, and Cannes, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize - Un Certain Regard. Manuscripts Don’t Burn is a New York Times Critic’s Pick.