2021 / drama / 151 min /
directed by Mohammad Rasolouf / written by Mohammad Rasolouf /
country: Germany, Iran, Czech Republic / language: Farsi with English subtitles
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“To make a movie that ponders the moral rot of an unjust system while under the gun of that unjust system is courageous and artistically potent.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times –
“Shot in secret and smuggled out of Iran, There is No Evil is an anthology film comprising four moral tales about men faced with a simple yet unthinkable choice – to follow orders to enforce the death penalty, or resist and risk everything. Whatever they decide, it will directly or indirectly affect their lives, their relationships, and their consciences. Says director Mohammad Rasoulof: “As responsible citizens, do we have a choice when enforcing the inhumane orders of despots? As human beings, to what extent are we to be held responsible for carrying out those orders? Where does the duality of love and moral responsibility leave us?” Suspenseful, mysterious, and shot through with a sense of urgency, Rasoulof’s film is an incisive look at the moral strength and inner humanity of its protagonists. There Is No Evil has won audience awards and festival prizes around the world, including the Golden Bear (Best Film) at the Berlin Film Festival.
The first story concerns a family man who, as we come to see, pays a grave moral price for his comfortable middle-class life. The second and third chapters focus on conscripted soldiers – in Iran, it is often these men who are forced to perform executions – and both segments explore the tension and turmoil that can come with such harsh coercion. The final section involves a family secret, which brings the film to its powerful conclusion. Suspenseful, mysterious, and shot through with a sense of urgency, Rasoulof’s work bears the mark of an artist who sets his own terms – and who knows just how to captivate an audience.”