The Past

(Le passé)
(Iran, France, 2013, 130 mins, DCP)
CAST Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis
PROD Alexandre Mallet-Guy
SCR Asghar Farhadi
CAM Mahmoud Kalari
ED Juliette Welfling
PROD DES Claude Lenoir
MUS Evgueni Galperine, Youli Galperine
PROD CO Memento Films Production


Academy award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) returns with another expertly structured dissection of the fraying lines of love, commitment and detachment between a couple on the verge of divorce—this time set in Paris.

Returning from Tehran after several years apart, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) arrives in France to finalize divorce proceedings from his wife, Marie (The Artist’s Bérénice Bejo). Despite his resolve to remain detached, he’s soon drawn back into fresh emotional turbulence with the revelations that Marie is on the point of marrying again, to another immigrant, Samir (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet), and her teenage daughter from a previous liaison is adamantly opposed to the union.

For all the new film’s obvious similarities to A Separation (not least in the way it reveals how conversation and communication are two entirely different things), The Past pulls us inexorably deeper into the lives of half-a-dozen individuals tied to each other by blood or marriage, struggling to break free but caught up in their own neuroses and conflicted emotions. For all the pain and anguish on display here, this is multifaceted, compassionate, humanist filmmaking of the highest order.

“An intricate and often brilliant drama, with restrained and intelligent performances; there is an elegantly patterned mosaic of detail, unexpected plot turns, suspenseful twists and revelations… The continuing force and intelligence of Farhadi’s filmmaking is compelling.”—Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

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