The Master and Margarita is a 1994 feature film based on Bulgakov’s book of the same name. The novel has several film adaptations, including in the form of TV series, but this article will focus on one of the first films created after the ban on this novel was lifted.
The story unfolding in The Master and Margarita is multifaceted and complex in form of perception even when reading. To simplify the process of understanding the main idea of the film, the director divides it into its component parts, showing the story of Yeshua and Pilate (the heroes of the novel written by the Master) in the context of the stories and dialogues of other characters, so that two different but interconnected novels do not overlap each other. The choice of such a composition, in general, is correct, as it simplifies the perception of the ideological component.
Many scenes in this film adaptation are missing, which may cause the viewer to feel understatement and misunderstanding of the meaning of the last scenes of the film.
To understand what is the meaning of the ending of The Master and Margarita, one must take into account that this is a novel within a novel, and the parts with Pontius Pilate and Yeshua must be perceived and analyzed separately from the story of the Master and Margarita, as well as Woland’s retinue, rampaging in Moscow. To understand the author’s ideological idea, the film shows the brightest and most important scenes, allowing you to understand what connections exist between the characters and why they come to such an ending, resolving their internal conflicts.
At the very end of the film, a ball takes place, to which all the devilish nobility hurries. Margarita is invited to it as a queen. She does this so that Woland fulfills her innermost desire – to be next to the Master and read his burnt manuscript again. A woman goes through all these trials for the sake of love and her bright feelings for her lover, for whom she is ready to go to any excesses. When the ball ends, Margarita gets what she wants – the Master appears in front of her, and Woland returns the manuscript to them.
The Master and Margarita, according to Levi, deserve not light, but peace. This is a completely logical ending to their story: hiding almost all their lives, deprived of the opportunity to create and love openly, they deserve just peace. The peaceful existence they so desperately longed for. The master, deprived of the opportunity to publish his novel, the theme of which did not correspond in any way to the society in which the writer happened to live, finally gets a reader not only in the person of his beloved, but also in the person of Woland. The statement that manuscripts do not burn rather means that thoughts and ideas will never sink into oblivion, even if they are destroyed. Sooner or later they will come to someone else’s mind. It can also be understood as the fact that real masterpieces are never forgotten, because they will always be relevant.
The master grants the long-awaited freedom to the hero of his novel, Pontius Pilate. He had been waiting for this moment for a long time, tormented by guilt over the murder of Yeshua, who was only guilty of thinking differently from others. But this was the main problem and the main conflict of both the Master’s novel and The Master and Margarita, since both Yeshua and the Master were deprived of the opportunity to express their thoughts openly, just the first was ready to die for it, and the second preferred to remain silent, to save your life. You can condemn the Master for cowardice, but you should also understand that the era in which he happened to live and create was filled with arrests and broke the fate of the creative intelligentsia.
Now Pilate, forgiven by Yeshua and gifted with the freedom of a Master, can continue to talk about the meaning of life and truth, but this time he will have much more time to fully understand and accept his ideas.
Woland himself, together with his retinue, leaves Moscow, noticing that people are the same everywhere. Even in different eras and different countries, they are endowed with the same vices, similar desires. Everything that happened in the city during the short period of Satan’s stay will sooner or later repeat again, because history is cyclical, and Woland is bored and looking for new participants in his ball.