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شیطان وجود ندارد

Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof

Cast: Ehsan Mirhosseini, Kaveh Ahangar, Shaghayegh Shourian

* Limited tickets available.

Golden Bear, 2020 Berlin International Film Festival

Over the course of his two-decade career, independent Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has proven adept at maneuvering between genres and tones. Still, no matter the format, be it allegorical (The White Meadows, SDAFF ‘11) or bluntly topical (Manuscripts Don’t Burn), his scathing indictment of state-sanctioned oppression has remained steadfast. Not surprisingly, the Iranian government has spent 10 years trying to silence him with criminal charges. Thankfully, like fellow compatriot Jafar Panahi, Rasoulof has never allowed the regime’s intimidation tactics to deter him from making art. 

The filmmaker’s latest work, THERE IS NO EVIL, once again takes aim at the inhumane policies that force everyday Iranians into crises of principle. Constructed of four separate but thematically connected stories, THERE IS NO EVIL runs the gamut in terms of style and substance. The first section follows a middle-class government worker going about the daily routine preceding a most unexpected night shift. Part two uses a dialogue-heavy, theatrical set piece à la 12 Angry Men to preface a pulse-pounding, cinematic escape from a maximum-security prison. The third and fourth vignettes, both about soldiers of different ages coming to grips with the consequences of their moral failures, reveal how the destructive ripples of autocratic institutions transcend generations and borders. 

As a complete piece, THERE IS NO EVIL suggests that despite the crippling social constraints placed upon the Iranian people by their government, expressions of protest and freedom can still burst from the seams of society. No amount of pressure or terror can prove otherwise.

Glenn Heath Jr.

Co-Presented by Persian Cultural Center