About Manuscripts Don't Burn
The film follows workaday thugs Khosrow and Morteza as they attempt to retrieve copies of an allegedly seditious manuscript detailing (among other things) an attempt to kill a group of writers by driving their bus off a cliff – something that apparently really happened in the mid-90s. The manuscript implicates a former dissident turned self-serving state executioner, and it is at his bidding that the gruelling acts of violence are carried out. Eschewing the creative subtleties demanded of state-approved Iranian cinema, Rasoulof’s grim thriller goes straight for the jugular, both literally and metaphorically. The results are challenging and alarming; the film-making brave and defiant.