Manuscripts Don’t Burn

Australian Premiere | 2013


The latest release from multi-award winning Iranian writer director Mohammad Rasoulof, whose uncompromising approach has seen his work banned from his native country, and earned him a year in prison.

A taut, finely woven drama based on the true story of the government’s attempted 1995 murder of several prominent writers and intellectuals, the film revolves around two overlapping tales: A professional killer seeking money for his ailing child; whilst a circle of writers are menaced by a powerful secret service agent with much to lose by the publication of certain manuscripts. A cat-and-mouse game ensues against a backdrop of generational amnesia and popular indifference, as brutality overwhelms conscience and despotism haunts the oblivious streets.

Director's Biography
Director's Biography
Mohammad Rasoulof was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1972. He is an independent director, writer and producer. He studied sociology. Rasoulof started his filmmaking with documentaries and short films. For his first film ‘Gagooman'(The Twilight, 2002) Rasoulof won the prize for the best film at the Fajr Film Festival in Iran. After his second film ‘Jazireh Ahani’ (Iron Island, 2005) he began to have problems with the censorship system in Iran and his possibilities for the further production and screening of films were strongly limited or prohibited. To this date Mohammad Rasoulof has produced five feature films which none of have been shown in Iran due to the censorship, while his films are enjoyed by a broad audience in cinemas and festivals outside of Iran. Until 2010 Rasoulof mostly used metaphoric forms of storytelling as his means of expression in his films. Since then he has shifted to using more direct forms of expression. In March 2010 Rasoulof was arrested on set at a filming location together with Jafar Panahi while they were directing a film together. In the following trial, he was sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was later reduced to one year. He was then released on bail and is still waiting for the sentence to be executed. Mohammad Rasoulof has won many prizes for his films. In 2011, he won the prize for best director in Un Certain Regard for his film ‘Bé Omid é Didar'(Goodbye, 2011) at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013 he won the FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes for the film ‘Dast-Neveshteha-Nemisoozand'(Manuscripts Don’t Burn, 2013) from the International Federation of Film Critics in Un Certain Regard.


  • CANNES Film Festival / Un Certain Regard / Competition / FIPRESCI prize
  • VANCOUVER International Film Festival 2013
  • ROTTERDAM International Film Festival 2013
  • TORONTO International Film Festival 2013
  • VIENNALE 2013
  • THESSALONIKI Film Festival 2013
  • STOCKHOLM Film Festival 2013
  • ISTANBUL Film Festival 2014
  • TELLURIDE Film Festival 2013
  • AFI Film Festival 2013


Production Team

Mohammad Rasoulof
127 min
Persian with English Subtitles
Premiere Status 
Mohammad Rasoulof
Mohammad Rasoulof


Other Films