In 2017,  director Mohammad Rasoulof had his passport seized by the Iranian government after screening his award-winning film A Man of Integrity in Cannes. Accused of “spreading propaganda” against the country’s regime, Rasoulof was sentenced to a year in jail (still to be served) and was banned from filmmaking altogether. The ban led the director to be extra creative when shooting his new project, There Is No Evil. Split into three different stories, the format allowed Rasoulof to spread the filming and the locations, dodging possible government shutdown. 

All three stories question Iran’s death sentence and the common practice of enlisting the military to perform executions. From a man who successfully manages to detach his job from his personal life, to a young soldier who cannot grasp having to forever bear the weight of a man’s death on his shoulders, Rasoulof builds a comprehensive portrait of the impact the country’s death sentence policy has on its citizens. The differing points of view offer the audience, who might be unaware of the cogwheels of the despotic regime, a deeper understanding of the scars left by the trauma of having to take someone’s life to save your own. 

“Right or wrong, this is the law of the land. It can’t be lawless”, says a cellmate to a shaken soldier who is hours away from having to pull the stool from under a hanging man. Here, one is led to reflect on what people need to tell themselves in order to survive, how some are made to believe the most vile of actions is indispensable for the greater good. Many ethical dilemmas can be lengthily dissected in There Is No Evil, but its greatest merit is that it refuses to delineate any moral grounds. The cards are handed, but, unfortunately, the game in question has no end in sight. 



CAST: Baran Rasoulof, Zhila Shahi, Ehsan Mirhosseini

DIRECTOR: Mohammad Rasoulof

WRITER: Mohammad Rasoulof

SYNOPSIS: The four stories that are variations on the crucial themes of moral strength and the death penalty that ask to what extent individual freedom can be expressed under a despotic regime and its seemingly inescapable threats.