This strident Yugoslavian/Italian film is a very uneven adaptation of a small portion of the famous and much-loved whimsical novel The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulghakov. It attempts to deal only with the Moscow portion of the novel. Even so, it was a brave attempt to film the unfilmable, and uses animation and other techniques to portray the more fantastic aspects of the story. In the film, which lovingly recreates the Moscow of the 1920s, the Master (Ugo Tognazzi) is a playwright. He is attending the dress rehearsal for his play, which is being performed over the objections of everyone involved, except for his girlfriend Margarita (Mimsy Farmer) and Professor Woland (Alain Cluny). He grows frantic when he discovers that the Professor is actually the Devil (the actual supernatural being, not just a very bad man). The Master tries to warn people but is committed to an insane asylum for his pains. At the play's premiere, the Professor uses his magical powers to add terrifying special effects which send the audiences screaming out of the theater. The film makes many guarded references to the persecution (past and present) of artists under communism.
by Clarke Fountain synopsis