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The Past [DVD]
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Following a four-year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie's request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his stay, Ahmad quickly discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her daughter, Lucie. But Ahmad's attempts to build bridges between the two soon begin to encroach on Marie's new partner, Samir (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet), and as tensions begin to mount it soon becomes clear that the past is only close behind.
Directed by Palme d'Or winner Asgar Farhadi (A Separation) and featuring an unforgettable central performance by Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) that earned her the Best Actress award at Cannes 2013, The Past is a tight-knit family drama as gripping as any thriller.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's perhaps a little contrived in places, but this a very sophisticated, morally serious film from a sophisticated, morally serious film maker at the top of his game; a pressure cooker of passion and anguish. Just as in 'A Separation', it is the agony of splitting that reveals the truth of a relationship most clearly, with some very subtle political resonances also. Everywhere there are layers upon layers of unspoken reproach, guilt and fear, and the ending is absolutely heart-rending.
A number of characters here advise each other to forget, to break the past's terrible grip. But it is not so easy - forgetting the past means losing much of the present and much of oneself. Sombre and difficult to watch at times it may be, but this is wonderful film-making that will appeal to anyone with intelligence and life experience.
After being absent for around 4 years, Ahmad eventually responds to Marie's many summons to sign the divorce papers. He learns that many things have changed, that Marie now has a new partner in Samir (Tahar Rahim). Samir has a young son called Fouad (Elyes Aguis), to add to Marie's two daughters Lea (Jeanne Jestin) and the teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet) from her first marriage. This complicated family structure is further fractured by the fact that Samir is still married, whose wife Céline is in a coma. And its Celine's hospitalisation which triggers the emotional turmoil in everyone concerned.
Everyone seems to have dual existences, caught between the past and the current and unable to find a path to the future. Somehow, Marie has to decide what is best for herself and her family. She, and she alone needs to decide what the future holds for everyone. Farhadi's complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and wrong decisions that seemed right at the time. Celine's situation is played like a murder-mystery, unravelled with consummate timing by Farhadi. It seems easier to cut your losses and move on, but nobody is capable of doing so. Paradoxically, Celine seems to have got off lightly.
Directing in a different language and culture, Farhadi has still managed to pull off another outstanding film. The acting, from the children to the adults, is quite extraordinary. As with `A Separation' and `About Elly', Farhadi manages to show a naturalistic humanity in all the characters.Read more ›
For reasons which are never fully explained, four years previously Iranian Ahmed left his French pharmacist wife Marie and her two daughters with whom he gets on well, although he is not their father. The film opens with his return to Paris at Marie's request to sign their divorce papers. Yet it is clear from the outset that, although they both regard their marriage as over, a natural intimacy between them still remains, they know each other so well. Marie can instruct Ahmed to help her drive by changing gear, since her arm is too painful for this. She even asks him to find out what is bugging her teenage daughter Lucie. It is not surprising that Marie's new lover Samir feels resentful and excluded. He is also trapped in the tragic effects of an ill-considered action taken by his wife, and the wonderfully acted scenes of his small son witnessing the drama of dysfunctional adult relationships and trying to make sense of them are poignant in the extreme. The little boy continually tries to apply the rules he has just learned only to find that some new factor contradicts them. Having learned the need to apologise for his bad behaviour, he then has to grasp that some adult breaches are simply too grave to be pardoned.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this director's work, loved the entire cast, loved everything about the film.Published 5 days ago by Siniolo
highly recommended - if you liked 'Separation' you will enjoy thisPublished 3 months ago by forged piston
If you not into subtitled Films don't bother as the continuous Dialogue throughout and portrayal of broken and intricate extended Family relationships is what this Story is all... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Pottermagic
Slightly disappointed considering the reviews - wouldnt want to live near this crowd - not one nice character amongst themPublished 10 months ago by The serious collector
Fantastic film, one of my favourites from 2013. Don't expect Hollywood bags and flashes but if you want a deep and moving story that makes you think then this one is gonna work for... Read morePublished 12 months ago by GW
Intensely good. Not in any way a happy story, but real. It fitted my mood, watching on the dark and stormy first day of the 2016. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Andy Graham, Truro
The film is a regular slow moving french drama, which I love, however, the little boy who played Fouad was mesmerising.Published 14 months ago by Linda Wells