A film by an Iranian director on capital punishment won first prize at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Mohammad Rasoulof was banned from directing in 2017 and produced Il ne pas mal, his sixth film, in secret.
He cannot travel outside of Iran due to charges related to his previous films.
Mr. Rasoulof’s daughter Baran, who also stars in the film, received the Golden Bear in her name.
Jury President Jeremy Irons said the film, which tells four stories about the death penalty, shows “the web of an authoritarian regime weaving among ordinary people, drawing them into inhumanity”.
Second place at the festival went to Never Rarely Sometimes Always, a film about abortion in the United States by director Eliza Hittman.
Addressing a press conference by videoconference, Mr. Rasoulof explained that there is no harm, they were “people taking responsibility”.
“I wanted to talk about people who are shirking their responsibilities and say that the decision is made by higher powers,” he said. “But they can actually say no, and that’s their strength.”
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“The story of each part of the film is based on my own experience,” said Rasoulof in a Skype interview with the Berlin festival published the day before the awards were announced.
He then described how one of the film’s four episodes happened after seeing a man who interrogated him while in prison stepped out of a bank.
After following the man for a while, “I realized how normal he was and how he looked like all the other people. I realized that there was no monster involved, he there was no harm in front of me, just a person who did not question his own actions. “
According to international rights groups, hundreds of people are executed in Iran each year.