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There Is No Evil

Germany | 2020 | 150 minutes | Mohammad Rasoulof

May 14 - June 24, 2021

Filmed in secret and banned in its home country, Mohammad Rasoulof’s Golden Bear-winning film is an anthology of four short stories, each focused on a person affected by the capital punishment system in a country that commits more executions per capita than anywhere else on Earth.

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In the press notes for There Is No Evil, director Mohammad Rasoulof, who has been banned from filmmaking for life and sentenced to a year in prison for the political content of his work, says he came up with the idea after seeing his own interrogator at the bank. Adapting the context to the issue of capital punishment, he explores the questions surrounding the role that ordinary people play in carrying out state-sanctioned injustice. These questions play out across the film’s four stories of men charged with carrying out executions through their choices and the consequences of those choices for themselves and their loved ones. (The issue has particular resonance in a country that executes more people than almost any other, and where executions are often performed by on-duty soldiers.) The stories are told in discrete, standalone chapters—“There Is No Evil,” “She Said, ‘You Can Do It,’” “Birthday,” and “Kiss Me”—featuring a range of characters in diverse circumstances. Rasoulof allows each segment its own complexity, rigorously avoiding easy answers and inviting us to put ourselves in the characters’ shoes. In fact, the literal translation of the film’s title is “Satan Doesn’t Exist,” suggesting that evil is a uniquely human creation, and as banal as going to the bank.

  • Original Language Title: Sheytan vojud nadarad
  • Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
  • Principal Cast: Ehsan Mirhosseini, Kaveh Ahangar, Mahtab Servati, Mohammad Valizadegan, Shaghayegh Shourian
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Germany, Czech Republic, Iran
  • Year: 2020
  • Running Time: 150 minutes
  • Producer: Mohammad Rasoulof, Kaveh Farnam, Farzad Pak
  • Screenplay: Mohammad Rasoulof
  • Cinematographers: Ashkan Ashkani
  • Editors: Mohammadreza Muini, Meysam Muini
  • Music: Amir Molookpour
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Berlin Film Festival 2020 (Golden Bear)
  • Filmography: A Man of Integrity (2017); Manuscripts Don’t Burn (2013); Goodbye (2011)
  • Language: Farsi
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber
  • International Sales: Films Boutique