I Invite You to My Execution
“This summer I committed the greatest crime a Soviet writer could commit. According to Soviet rules here, publication of a book abroad before it comes out in the Soviet Union is an illegal act of which I would severely be punished. I don’t know how.” Since he saw no prospect for his epochal work “Doctor Zhivago” to be published in the Soviet Union, the writer Boris Pasternak smuggled several copies of his manuscript abroad. He had worked on his first and only novel for almost ten years. Rejected as “anti-Soviet” because of its supposedly critical view of the October Revolution, a publication of the work, which had been finished in 1956, in its country of origin had become inconceivable. Pasternak would have stopped at nothing to save the text. “Doctor Zhivago” was first published in 1957 in an Italian translation; its author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in the following year – which had consequences. Using archive documents, interviews and Pasternak’s own notes, the film reconstructs a dramatic story from the Cold War period when literature could be a danger to the state and its publication life-threatening.