Following his Academy Award–winning feature A Separation, director Asghar Farhadi returns with a film that is similar in theme and approach: a couple in conflict with children caught in the middle; attention to class; and a reliance on conversations to examine ethical dilemmas arising from the situation. The setting has been moved from Tehran to Paris—although, under Farhadi’s gaze, France has never looked so much like Iran. And the interchanges that defined his earlier film have become even more intricate and maze-like in The Past.
The story circles around Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), who travels to Paris from Tehran to finalize his divorce from his French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo; The Artist). Their beautifully depicted greeting at the airport gives way to constant bickering and disagreements, as Ahmad finds that life can never be entirely compartmentalized. No matter how much he tries to remain apart, events conspire to drag him into a series of new emotional involvements. As he discovers that his ex is about to remarry, and that her daughter vehemently objects to this new relationship, Ahmad is gradually drawn back into their lives. Farhadi places this tale of emotional failures and marital collapse against a very specific socio-economic background: the immigrant community struggling to get by in a foreign country.
Exquisitely written, the film is also acted by a note-perfect cast (Bejo’s performance won her the Best Actress award at this year’s Cannes). With The Past, Farhadi has proven once again that he is a master at exploring the rich nuances of feelings and words that pass between couples and their children.
"[The Past] is a finely-crafted, sinewy drama that anatomizes clotted and complex relationships." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"You never feel like you're in the hands of anyone less than a master storyteller." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast:: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa
Language: French, Persian (English subtitles)
Distributor: Mongrel Media
Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR
* Represents an approximate date. Please consult local listings.