The Past / Le Passé (2014)

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Drama, French, Mystery, New releases
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France / Italy 2014

Director: Asghar Farhadi

130 minutes


Hot on the heels of his Oscar-winning film A Separation, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past is an engrossing relationship drama with a mystery at its heart. Iranian-born Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) is returning to France to finalize the divorce from his wife Anne-Marie (Bérénice Bejo). To his surprise she wants him to come and stay at her house rather than at a hotel, despite the fact that she is now in a relationship with Samir (Tahar Rahim). There, Ahmad finds three unhappy children, including Samir’s son Fouad (Elyes Aguis) and Anne-Marie’s eldest daughter, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), who was fathered by a former husband. Lucie is clearly troubled and holding onto some sort of pain, which she won’t discuss with Anne-Marie, who asks Ahmad to speak to her.

Whatever the problems are between Anne-Marie, Samir, and the children, Ahmad’s arrival acts as a catalyst to bring them to the fore. And at the centre of all this, unseen, is Samir’s wife, who is lying comatose in a hospital. Why is she in a coma? What is Samir’s relationship to her? Why is Lucie so troubled by Samir’s relationship with her mother? Like the peeling of an onion, little by little elements of the story are revealed. The Past is a compelling depiction of a complicated entanglement of jealousies, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and revenge. Written, as well as directed, by Asghar Farhadi, drama doesn’t come better than this.

Rating: 9/10


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