Incident in Judea

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Incident in Judea
Directed by Paul Bryers
Based on The Master and Margarita 
by Mikhail Bulgakov
Music by Debbie Wiseman
Budget £ 230.000
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Original channel Channel 4
Release date
  • March 31, 1991 (1991-03-31)
Running time 95 minutes

Incident in Judea is a British film made by Paul Bryers, based on the novel The Master and Margarita by the Soviet author Mikhail Bulgakov. The film only tells the biblical parts of the novel though. It was broadcast by the British Channel 4 on March 31, 1991.


Author and director Paul Bryers wrote and directed many factually-based dramas for television, radio and theatre and adapted and directed films by outstanding playwrights such as Arthur Miller and Mikhail Bulgakov. His TV-film Incident in Judea was the first real drama Paul Bryers ever directed and it's still one of the best experiences he’s had as a director.[1] Bryers got a budget of 230.000 GBP, which was not much, but he could work with star actors like John Woodvine, Lee Montague and Mark Rylance.[2]


In the novel The Master and Margarita by the Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov, on which the film is based, three story lines are interwoven: a satirical story line in which Satan, called Woland here, goes to the city of Moscow in the 30s to deal in hilarious manner with the corrupt lucky ones, bureaucrats and profiteers from the Stalin era, a second one describing the internal struggle fought by Pontius Pilate before, during and after the conviction and execution of Yeshua Ha Nozri (Jesus from Nazareth), and a third one telling the story of the love between the master, an unnamed writer in Moscow during the 30s and his beloved Margarita, which goes to the extreme to save her master. The master has written a novel about Pontius Pilate, and is addressed by the authorities because this was an issue which in the officially atheistic Soviet Union was taboo.[3]

Differences from the novel[edit]

The film Incident in Judea only tells the biblical story of the novel: the story of Pontius Pilate and Yeshua Ha Nozri (Jesus from Nazareth), but follows faithfully the story and the dialogues. The film starts with the first paragraph of Chapter 2 of the novel: "In a white cloak with blood-red lining, with the shuffling gait of a cavalryman, early in the morning of the fourteenth day of the spring month of Nisan, there came out to the covered colonnade between the two wings of the palace of Herod the Great' the procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate".[4]



Original music score by Debbie Wiseman

Other screen adaptations of The Master and Margarita[edit]

To be expected
  • Scott Steindorff - The Master and Margarita - 2012 (film)
  • Rinat Timerkaev - Master i Margarita - 2012 (animation film)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jan Vanhellemont. "Incident in Judea - Paul Bryers". The Master and Margarita website. 
  2. ^ Craig Raine (March 31, 1991). "A Devil To Deal With". N.N. 
  3. ^ Mikhail Bulgakov (1992). "The Master and Margarita". Penguin Books, London. ISBN 0-14118-828-6. 
  4. ^ Mikhail Bulgakov (1992). "The Master and Margarita". Penguin Books, London. p. 20. ISBN 0-14118-828-6.