Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir. During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.
Director: Asghar Farhadi. Iran, 2013. Language: French. 130 minutes. Cert: 12A
The continuing force and intelligence of Farhadi’s film-making is compelling…what a grippingly made picture. – The Guardian
Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin
Following the taut Oscar-winning divorce drama, A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi returns with another stunning study of modern family life, this time set on the outskirts of Paris where Ahmad arrives from Tehran to finalise the end of his tempestuous marriage to estranged wife Marie. The Past, however, is not simply a variation a theme; it is a gripping, emotional detective story, as curious Ahmad investigates the events of the previous four years, his interest piqued by Marie’s sulky teenage daughter Lucie, whose strange contempt for her mother’s new boyfriend Samir sets the story in motion. Farhadi’s cast is note-perfect, especially Bérénice Bejo (star of The Artist as Peppy Miller), playing beautifully against type as a flaky suburban mother of three. But the real star is the script, a masterwork of restraint that drip-feeds one explosive revelation after another. – BFI London Film Festival 2013