There Is No Evil

Sheytan vojud nadarad

Contemporary World Cinema | Panorama

Working in defiance of a lifelong ban on filmmaking, dissident director Mohammad Rasoulof delivers a piercing drama about a subject he knows well: the costs of living under a repressive, brutal government. Winner of the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, There Is No Evil is a film of four chapters; each tells a different story related to the death penalty in contemporary Iran.

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 portray conscripted soldiers; in Iran, it is they who are often 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, and it brings the film to a 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.

"Brilliant… maintains [an] enthralling rhythm." - Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Golden Bear, Berlin 20

Canadian premiere
Director Icon Director
Mohammad Rasoulof

Ehsan Mirhosseini, Shaghayegh Shourian, Kaveh Ahangar, Alireza Zareparast, Salar Khamseh
Executive Producer Farzad Pak
Producer Mohammad Rasoulof, Kaveh Farnam, Farzad Pak
Screenwriter Mohammad Rasoulof
Cinematographer Ashkan Ashkani
Editor Mohammadreza Muini, Meysam Muini
Production Design Saeed Asadi
Music Amir Molookpour
Production Company Cosmopol Film, Europe Media Nest, Filminiran
Source Acéphale
Germany/Czech Republic/Iran 2020 150 min. Farsi with English subtitles Review 1 | Review 2


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Rasoulof, Mohammad headshot


Born in Shiraz, Iran in 1972, Mohammad Rasoulof began directing documentaries and short films while studying sociology. After his second film Iron Island (2005) opportunities for him to make and screen his work grew increasingly restricted. All seven of his feature films have fallen victim to the censor in Iran. In 2010, he was arrested on set while working alongside Jafar Panahi and sentenced to a year in prison. He has won numerous international awards for his work including several prizes in Un Certain Regard at Cannes. Since 2017, he has been officially barred from leaving Iran.

Selected Filmography
Goodbye (2011); Manuscripts Don’t Burn (2013); A Man of Integrity (2017)