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Manuscripts Don't Burn review

A tense battle with censorship

Director Mohammad Rasoulof has suffered plenty of censorship under Iran’s authorities, so his daring political thriller – shot secretly by an uncredited cast and crew – comes with added authenticity. The chilly, claustrophobic story revolves around a cash-strapped assassin involved in disbanding a group of writers before they publish an explosive memoir.

The initially cryptic plotting and low-key realism are familiar from Iranian dramas; what’s striking is how Rasoulof shifts into such a lucid, gut-punching tale of persecution. The film’s flaws are forgivable; its very existence should be applauded.

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