Berlin Film Festival Top Award Goes to Banned Iranian Director

BERLIN—The movie “There Is No Evil” won the top award, the Golden Bear, at the 70th Berlin Film Festival on Feb. 29. The Iranian film explores the moral dilemmas thrust on those chosen to carry out executions. The film shows in four episodes that there are costs for both courage and cowardice.

English actor Jeremy Irons, the president of this year’s International Jury, introduced the film at the official award ceremony.

“Four stories showing the web of an authoritarian regime weaves among ordinary people, drawing them to war, to inhumanity. A film that asks questions about our own responsibility and choices we all make in life,” said Irons.

The film’s director, Mohammad Rasoulof, was banned from leaving Iran because of propaganda charges he faces in relation to earlier films and could not be in Berlin for the festival. His daughter Baran, who stars in one the episodes of the film, received the award on his behalf.

“I’m very, very overwhelmed and happy about this award. And at the same time, I’m very sad because this is for a filmmaker who couldn’t be here tonight,” she said after accepting the Golden Bear for her father.

During a press conference following the ceremony, Rasoulof joined via video.

The film was shot in secret, mostly at night or in rural locations, to avoid catching the authorities’ attention. It carried risks for cast and crew.

“I would like to thank our amazing cast and crew who put their lives in danger to be on this film,” said co-producer Farzad Pak at the award ceremony.

This year the festival showed 340 films produced in over 70 countries. The international jury spread the prizes, with no film nor country dominating the awards. Two U.S. productions received top awards.

Here are all the prizes of this year’s International Jury:

Golden Bear for Best Film
(awarded to the film’s producers)
Sheytan vojud nadarad (There Is No Evil)
By Mohammad Rasoulof
Produced by Mohammad Rasoulof, Kaveh Farnam, Farzad Pak

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
By Eliza Hittman

Silver Bear for Best Director
Hong Sangsoo for
Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran)

Silver Bear for Best Actress
Paula Beer in
By Christian Petzold

Silver Bear for Best Actor
Elio Germano in
Volevo nascondermi (Hidden Away)
By Giorgio Diritti

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
D’Innocenzo Brothers for
Favolacce (Bad Tales)
By D’Innocenzo Brothers

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Jürgen Jürges for the cinematography in
DAU. Natasha
By Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Jekaterina Oertel

The Silver Bear – 70th Berlinale
Effacer l’historique (Delete History)
By Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern

Here are the awards of the other juries of the 70th Berlin Film Festival (pdf).

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.