Country: France / Italy
Movie Review: Asghar Farhadi’s first cinematic experience totally made outside Iran wasn’t so rewarding as his previous two masterpieces “About Elly” and “A Separation”. Set in France, there is no question about “The Past” being an adult film, but the plot didn’t shake me or intrigued me, and I felt a sort of distance towards the characters. I watched it with eagerness for some kind of astonishing revelation or a better twist, but the film let me dry in the end. The story follows Ahmad who travels from Teheran to Paris to finish his divorce procedure with his wife Marie whom he didn’t see for 4 years. He stays in Marie’s place, taking the opportunity to be with her two daughters from two previous marriages. But for his surprise, Marie is pregnant and has been living with another Arab, Samir, whose wife is in a coma due to suicide attempt. Samir also has a son, Fouad, who is showing problematical behaviors and reveals a clear need of attention. Marie’s older daughter, Lucie, becomes a key-character in the story’s climax, hiding a relevant secret that justifies her deplorable state of depression. “The Past” ends up being a modest family drama that, taking all the aspects into account, seemed more planned that complex. Nevertheless, and in the same line as his prior works, the film conveyed great simplicity of processes, composed with sharp images that were quite appealing to the eyes. Farhadi’s direction was never in cause, in a story about breaking up ties with the past, that despite likable, failed to enrapture.