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The Past [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim
  • Directors: Asgar Farhadi
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French, Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Jun. 2014
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00I4Y2VD8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,317 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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This highly complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and bad beginnings messily intertwined with wrong decisions that seemed right at the time - Farhadi shows the desperation and anger involved in trying to annul incorrect life choices and defy the past. An excellent opening sequence shows an about to be divorced married couple banging their car while reversing - looking back needs careful handling.

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.
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Format: DVD
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi follows up his Oscar-winning drama `A Separation' with `The Past', a French film set in Paris where Marie (Bérénice Bejo) is going through a divorce with her estranged Iranian husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa).

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.
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By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD
Expectations raised by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's earlier film, "The Separation" are not disappointed. "The Past" is an absorbing, subtle and complex drama of relationships set in the everyday world of a Parisian suburb where ordinary people have to juggle the needs of work and childcare with sorting out their emotional lives. Shifting between the characters' different perspectives, it manages to arouse empathy for them all in the process. Even with subtitles, the dialogue is excellent, reminding me of a very accessible Pinter play.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have no difficulty or hesitation in saying that this film deserves five stars. Berenice Bejo may have won a Best Actress award at Cannes but this is acting of the highest quality from the entire ensemble cast. The story is fascinating but the storytelling is superb. What could, with another director, have provided material for a soap opera, is instead a convoluted but involving glimpse into a group of complex and messy lives of people facing issues with no easy resolutions. As more is revealed about the characters, you realise that initial assumptions and typecasting into good and bad are wide of the mark. Each character is trying their best to do what is right. It will keep you transfixed to the end and thinking and talking about it for hours or days afterwards. This is film-making of the highest possible quality. I have seen Farhadi's A Separation. This is as good, or even better.
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