Movie Diary 4/13/2021

More from the 2021 Seattle International Film Festival.

There Is No Evil (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020). Last year’s winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Four stories, linked by the theme of what capital punishment does to people involved, often against their will (because of military assignments), with administering the process. Rasoulof’s immense patience in telling this quartet of tales is extremely effective, even if there are times when various withheld revelations begin to feel overbearing. Each story has a distinctive setting – mundane life in the city, inside a prison, two very different country houses – and along with measuring the damage of capital punishment, the film beautifully depicts these different levels of Iranian life. Along with Rasoulof’s social conscience, this too leaves a lasting impression. The director was sentenced to a year in prison shortly after winning the Berlinale; this year he was on the jury for the festival.