Monday, March 02, 2020

Banned Iranian director wins Berlin Golden Bear for death penalty film

Mohammad Rasoulof was prevented from attending the festival but won top award for his film There Is No Evil, about capital punishment in Iran
Dissident Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof won the top prize at the Berlin film festival for There Is No Evil, a searingly critical work about the death penalty in Iran.
Rasoulof, 48, is currently banned from leaving Iran and was unable to accept the Golden Bear in person. Accepting the award on his behalf, producer Farzad Pak thanked “the amazing cast and crew who, put their lives in danger to be on this film”.
The film tells four loosely related individual stories about the death penalty in Iran, from the executioner to the families of the victims. Industry magazine Variety called it Rasoulof’s “most openly critical statement yet”.
Rasoulof was sentenced to a year in prison last year for “attacking the security of the state”, and banned from making films for life. Speaking to a news conference via mobile phone, the director said his latest film was about “taking responsibility” under despotism. “You can try to put aside your own responsibility and pass the buck to the government... but [people] can say no,” he said.
The runner-up jury prize went to Eliza Hittman’s teenage abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which had been a favourite among critics. Sidney Flanigan plays a 17-year-old from Pennsylvania forced to travel to New York in order to abort an unplanned pregnancy.
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