Iranian director wins prize at Berlin festival in absentia

There Is No Evil Berlin festival

There Is No Evil tells four stories loosely connected to the use of the death penalty in Iran and dealing with personal freedom under tyranny.

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil won the Golden Bear prize Saturday for best picture at the Berlin Film Festival. Rasoulof wasn’t there to accept the award due to a travel ban imposed on him by Iranian authorities.

There Is No Evil tells four stories loosely connected to the use of the death penalty in Iran and dealing with personal freedom under tyranny.

The Berlin festival jury led by actor Jeremy Irons chose the film over 17 others competing for the prize, including Sally Potter’s The Road Not Taken, a remake of Berlin Alexanderplatz, and Siberia, starring Willem Dafoe and Dounia Sichov.

Baran Rasoulof

Actor Baran Rasoulof, holds The Golden Bear for Best Film in place of director Mohammad Rasoulof, who did not attend, for the film 'Sheytan vojud nadarad' (There Is No Evil) after the award ceremony at the 70th International Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. Saturday, February 29, 2020. (Joerg Carstensen/DPA via AP, Pool)

Organizers left an empty chair and name sign for Mohammad Rasoulof at the news conference for his entry. Germany’s dpa news agency reported that Rasoulof’s daughter, Baran, accepted the Golden Bear award on his behalf.

The Silver Bear for best actress went to Paul Beer for her performance in Undine and the Silver Bear for best actor to Elio Germano for his role in “Hidden Away.” Best screenplay went to the D’Innocenzo brothers, Damiano and Fabio, for Bad Tales.