Tag Archives: Asgar Farhadi

The Past Movie Review

Featuring: Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Sabrina Ouazani
Director: Asgar Farhadi
Writer: Asgar Farhadi
Movie website: www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/20478/

2013-14 Lotterywest Perth Film Festival season dates:
Somerville: 27 Jan–2 Feb, 8pm
Joondalup Pines: 4–9 Feb, 8pm

Reviewer: rolanstein
Verdict: A formidable achievement in realist domestic drama, featuring masterful dialogue and characterisation, and an outstanding cast

Tehran-based Iranian Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris at the request of his estranged wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo) to finalise their divorce. Reluctantly acceding to stay in the house in which he once lived, Ahmad finds himself drawn into a sticky web of relationship intrigue involving Marie, her troubled and resentful teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet), and new flame Samir (Tahar Rahim), whose wife is in hospital on life-support after attempting suicide.

The film opens with Marie greeting Ahmad from the other side of a glass wall separating arriving passengers from the public waiting in the airport lounge. They mouth words, unable to properly communicate but seemingly pleased to see each other, affectionate even. The assumption is that they are intimates: husband and wife, lovers, siblings. But nothing is quite as it appears here. In fact, they are an estranged couple, about to divorce. And the initial warmth between them soon gives way to tension and testiness.

This gradual peeling away of layers to reveal glimpses of the truth that lies beneath is the narrative modus operandi of the film, and appropriately so. It’s a case of the subject matter determining the structure. The metaphorically resonant opening prefigures the central concerns of the film – misperception, miscommunication and disconnection. Indeed, it is as if the characters are separated by invisible walls, as guilt, self-deception, lies and misunderstandings, and differing perceptions of past actions and misdeeds combine to complex melodramatic effect. Continue reading The Past Movie Review