Mohammad Rasoulof’s compelling anthology film explores the insidious effect of state-sanctioned capital punishment on a society and its citizens.
Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film, Guild and Ecumenical Prizes at the Berlin Film Festival, There Is No Evil (4 Moral Tales from Iran) examines the limits of personal freedom in a society that enforces the death penalty. Moral boundaries are explored in four thematically-linked episodes in which deceptively ordinary characters are co-opted in reluctant service to a corrosive system that leaves them with a stark choice: toe the line or risk everything to resist – and potentially face moral dissolution either way.
Rasoulof is himself no stranger to the sustained moral duress of living under a despotic regime. The director of 2017’s A Man of Integrity (Lerd) has continued to produce and direct works that incur the displeasure of government officials and which have seen his ability to direct circumscribed by censorship in his native Iran, and a prison sentence following his arrest on the set of a 2010 project he was directing alongside fellow Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi. Officially barred from leaving Iran since late 2017 on spurious ‘national security’ grounds, Rasoulof continues to find ways to bring compelling humanist stories of ordinary people ‘confronted by the machine of autocracy’ to the screen.
– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film
Czech Republic, Germany, Iran (Islamic Republic of)