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Mohammad Raslov’s Thematic Anthology is a master class of narrative stories.

Joyce Glasser Review There is no evil (December 3, 2021) Certificate 15, 105 minutes.

when There is no evilThe thematic anthology film won the Golden Bear (Best Award) at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. Writer and director Mohammad Rasoulof was not present to accept this award. Immediately after winning the award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, he was sentenced to a two-year travel ban following a one-year imprisonment. Sincere person.. It wasn’t the first time. In 2009, the Iranian government arrested Rasulov and fellow writer and director Jafar Panahi for “creating propaganda for the system.”What the government could not recognize in the stories that make up the universality of Rasulov’s message and the depth of mankind There is no evilIs clearly a government accusation, not a movie.

In the first segment, There is no evil, We are trapped in a physically comfortable claustrophobic environment in which a middle-aged family man, Ehsan Mirhosseini, lives a double life. He was first seen in the underground car park and, with another man, is carrying something that looks like a body in his car boots. For almost the rest of the segment, Heshmat sees it in his daily life. Heshmat caters to an organized, wise and vibrant wife, Shaghayegh Shourian, a lovely daughter, and an elderly mother. The conversation with Rajie is so natural and mundane that it feels like waiting for the bomb to explode as their routine continues.

However, you may be hit by a case where Heshmat stops at a bank and Rajie collects his salary. When a bank teller who knows her well needs her husband’s permission to collect her salary, Rajie is insulted and she declares that she will no longer collect her salary. Why do we wonder, is Heshmat so reluctant to raise his salary? At 3:00 am the next morning, Heshmat goes to work and returns to the ominous parking lot. This time, when he gets a job, we get a possible answer.

If the tension in the first story intentionally pulsates underwater at a slow and even pace, the second segment is She said, “You can do it.” It starts with a fast tempo and becomes a desperate tempo. The pace reflects the adrenaline level of Pouya (Kaveh Ahangar), a jerky young man who has just begun compulsory two-year military service. His job is to handcuff the prisoners and take him to the place of execution. Pouya’s longer-term goal is to apply for a passport to go abroad and live with her girlfriend. But then he does something unthinkable as this ambitious girlfriend on the phone encourages him in conversations that we can’t completely hear.

Third segment, birthday, Seemingly the second continuation, Javid (Mohammad Barizadegan), a young man running in the woods, hasn’t escaped with his girlfriend Nana (Natab Selvati). He is running towards her to propose to her birthday. Armed with an engagement ring, Havid is three days away from the military base to attend Nana’s birthday celebration at her liberal parents’ shabby and comfortable home in the Caspian Sea.

It’s clear that the two young people are in love, but their hearts are worried. Javid complains to Nana that he doesn’t like what he’s doing, but knows that otherwise “they will destroy our lives.” Nana isn’t even more festive. The death of a family friend who was with them put a damper on the party.

At dinner, the family decided to set aside their sorrow so that Javid could present his ring. And Javid happens to see a picture of a stranger and stops dead on his truck.

In the last segment kiss MeA middle-aged couple, Barham (Mohammad Sedigimea) and a semi-retired doctor, Zaman (Jira Shah), live on a remote farm in the dry mountains of a beekeeper. At Barham’s request, his niece Dariya (Baran Rasulov) arrives at Khomeini Airport and spends time with him and Zaman. Darya, accustomed to wearing a scarf, is surprised that Barham can live without the internet, does not have a driver’s license in the countryside (where he drives everywhere), and sometimes kills wolves. ..

“I don’t kill creatures,” Dariya claims. Barham replies, “Sometimes you have to.” Dariya is studying to be a doctor like her father, but I don’t know if she’s really doing what she wants to do. Barham knows the price to pay for what he wants to do or has to do. At dinner, Barham dances to the song, kiss MeHowever, the mood when he vomits blood is short-lived. What he has to say to Dariya is now urgent.

From claustrophobia (inside cities and prisons) to magnificent forest and mountain freedom, there is progress in the story setting, and even in the second story. There is also a corresponding downscale of material well-being, most notable in the last segment where couples make a living on remote farms. And while all the protagonists are men, it is the women of their lives who are responsible for their actions and destiny, whether conscious or not. It’s fascinating to see how this dynamic works in the story.

Not all films can claim that their inspiration came from accidentally witnessing one of his interrogators when he was arrested 10 years ago. That day, instead of seeing an evil monster in Tehran, Rasulov tells us that he saw a blockage in the wheels of the machine of the dictatorial ruler who ruled the people. Rasoulof asks that millions of people must have been asked, or must have been asked. If not, how can you separate the person you are from the work you have to do?

The first three stories are so fascinating that even great actors need to be credited, so when the story ends, it feels like a compelling dream, suddenly shaken from the story. Rasoulof is a master of storytelling. The details he unfolds are softened by what he withholds until the catastrophic climax brings a punch to the intestines. The fourth story isn’t an immersive visceral experience, but it offers a different perspective and variation on a timely and heartfelt theme.



Mohammad Raslov’s Thematic Anthology is a master class of narrative stories.

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