Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Past (2013) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
The themes of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning A Separation are reflected in his first French film, which explores the eternally fascinating and frequently murky territory of the family.
Argentinian-born Bérénice Bejo (from The Artist) is Marie, the woman caught between two men – her husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) who arrives in Paris to go through the paperwork of a divorce and her new partner Samir (Tahar Rahim) who owns a dry-cleaning business.
Also trapped in the crossfire of the emotional battleground are the children Marie has from different unions – quiet-spoken Léa (Jeanne Jestin) and a rebellious teen Lucie (Pauline Burlet) as well as Samir’s uncomprehending young son Fouad (Elyes Aguis).
Marie had hoped to draw a civilised line under the failed marriage to allow her to commit fully to the new relationship but the she uncovers painful and guilt-strewn undercurrents in a series of heart-rending confrontations.
Farhadi peels away the layers with simplicity, revealing the complicated and detailed emotions which lurk very close to the surface. The past, he suggests, has an iron grip on the present that can be destructive as his characters try to move on.
Ahmad starts to show more understanding of the children’s reactions than their mother and the outsider moves in to their lives – a theme familiar from A Separation – which makes the situation even more convoluted. The idea, after all, was to make a clean break.
It is understated and beautifully acted by all concerned especially Bejo’s tour de force as the woman being torn apart from all sides.
The Past is the red carpet event at the Cannes Film Festival tonight (17 May) and looks set for a rapturous reception.Reviewed on: 17 May 2013