Dir: Asghar Farhadi

Iran 2013

130 mins

Cert: 12A

Language: French

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 (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 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.

London Film Festival

Winner - Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival 2013