Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
The great Iranian director Asghar Farhadi turns his attention to a Parisian household in a drama as intimate and gripping as his A Separation. Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) in the pivotal role took the Best Actress Award at Cannes 2013.
“Almost as soon as we see Marie (Bejo) picking up her estranged Iranian husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) at Charles de Gaulle Airport, they start bickering like – well, like a married couple. Indeed my immediate thought was less ‘Oh, that’s why they broke up’ than ‘These two are totally not over each other’. Indeed, Marie’s new boyfriend, Samir (the terrific French actor Tahar Rahim), picks up on it right away… Officially, Ahmad is coming back from Iran for a brief visit, just to sign the divorce papers and end on a clean and friendly note…
Ahmad has no idea what he’s walking into after four years away, and Farhadi delivers the truth about this overly complicated family situation in modest doses of dry comedy… It plays out against an intensely realistic portrayal of life in the multicultural Paris suburbs, with an episodic structure that keeps focusing your attention on a different member of the central adult triangle, each of whom is at fault in some ways.” — Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com
“The Past is just about as good as a relationship drama is ever going to get. The plot is teased out with deliberate grace, the performances are sublime and the revelations, even the most melodramatic, feel right and true. It’s big canvas stuff painted by a new master.” — Jordan Hoffman, film.com