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 (Ali Mosaffa) arrives from Tehran to finalise the end of his tempestuous marriage to estranged wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo).
The Past, however, is not simply a variation on 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 (Pauline Burlet), whose strange contempt for her mother’s new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim) sets the story in motion.
Farhadi’s cast is note-perfect, especially The Artist’s Bejo, 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
‘An indelible tapestry of carefully engineered revelations and deeper human truths’
‘An intricate and often brilliant drama, with restrained and intelligent performances’
Winner, Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival