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There Is No Evil ★★★★★



Director: Mohammad Rasoulof

Stars: Ehsan Mirhosseini, Shaghayegh Shourian, Kaveh Ahangar

Released: 3rd December 2021 (UK)

Independent filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has always maintained his artistic liberties even under tremendous political pressure. His latest film, There Is No Evil, was shot secretly in Iran while he was banned from leaving the country for allegedly not filming without a permit. Within Iranian cinema, this is an unfortunate tale that has been the case on multiple occasions.

Rasolulof’s Golden Bear winning film confronts the realities of life under an autocratic regime. It begins with the story of Heshmat (Ehsan Mirhosseini), an apparently unremarkable family man with a shocking profession. Three further tales revolve around Iran’s death penalty and its impact on those who are obliged to carry out official orders. How do you live with your actions? How can anyone square conscience with comfort? A brave, passionate masterwork with a universal resonance.

We begin with darkness that slowly unfolds into the light of Rasoulof’s personal accounts. There is a powerful raw narrative that is full of tenacity and natural hubris. Atrocities happen, and we can say no to them. Rasoulof isn’t afraid to say this as he has had to take drastic measures to share his thoughts with the world. Moral choices embed the ethos of this profoundly human tale, and as you watch this story unfurl, you are constantly asking what you would do?

There is blatant honesty from Mohammad Rasoulof in every frame as he portrays the difficulties Iranian citizens go through. While it isn’t always easy to observe, we must watch and make a change. It’s executed within a docu-drama setting which helps elevate the realistic approach of the film. While the wider world can only observe what they see, this raw reality connects us to There Is No Evil.

Broken into four tales further emphasise the vast power of the piece. It allows us to gaze into different perspectives and decisions by all the characters. As we break away into nature, Rasoulof lets us reflect on what has happened during this deeply human odyssey. The camera opens up, and we can breathe and realise how our choices can have a long-lasting impact on our lives and the lives of others. There Is No Evil is a work of true mastery that asks for reform.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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