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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on 9 July 2014
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.
15 people found this helpful
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on 30 July 2017
A gorgeous looking film which subtly explores the quiet traumas of French suburban life. The performances by the children are all very natural, the director does a superb in directing such young actors. The mother was superbly written and portrayed while the estranged father, with his quiet thoughtful manner and hurt wounded look to his eyes was difficult to take your eyes off. Sound design is wonderfully subtle too. The dialogue, costumes, and themes all feel so relevant, modern, grown up and weighty. Despite some small bickering, the tension is kept under a lid until the third act when it is all set loose. The director and writer of this Farhadi loves playing with uncertainty teasing not only the audience but the characters themselves about what's true or what's not. Two different versions of a key event are presented and we are left trying to find out which we believe. The tone of the film is sad rather than angry, all the characters are living with their hopes and regrets, trying to move forwards in their lives.
The soon to be ex husband finds himself under the same roof as his wife’s new lover, hardly ideal. The younger man comes down for breakfast in the morning to find the other mending a sink, he’s definitely stepping on his territory there. The setting is the outer reachers of the French Capital, with it’s little cafes, pharmacies, businesses, schools and homes. The director noted the worst mistake a foreign director can make shooting abroad is to go after what seems immediately obvious. The trees appear barren and dead fitting the theme of the film as a marriage has come to an end. The clothes all worn look stylish yet subdued, grey or dark blue jumpers, cardigans, brown leather coats, a far cry from the bright colourful childish things most adults wear in the UK, (dressing like a teenager when your in your 50s isn’t a good look btw people.) The films is lit nicely and as with other films by Farhadi it feels a bit like a play, mostly taken place in indoor homely settings. The home is half repainted like they have tried to erase the memory of Ahmad but haven't been able to. Where else would a family drama play out? Though set in France rather than Iran many of the themes present in Farhadi's works remain, these include, family break up, guilt, blame. personal Revenge and uncertainty. My only complaint really was the final 30 minutes or so which did drag slightly. All in all though this is a classy film and an excellent Blu Ray transfer too.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 July 2017
I watched “The Past” (original French title “Le Passé”) last night for the third or fourth time, having first watched it about two years previously. I think that this is a film that stands up to repeated viewing very well indeed. I often find that I remember the general story of a film but forget the minutiae – and with this film that is very much the case. I could even say that it is a film that benefits from repeated viewings (especially if you are not fluent in French, as there might be less need to read every last word of the subtitles) as knowing aspects of the story that are as yet unknown to certain characters gives a different idea of how and why those characters are interacting in the ways that they do.

Anyway, if all of that makes any sense, this really is a wonder full film to me, it is a very clever story, the narrative of which reveals a bit more and a bit more at just the right pace to keep one keen to find out more of the bigger picture. The cast is superb, everyone including the supporting cast are brilliant – lookout for Sabrina Ouazani who plays the part of an employee of Tahar Rahim’s character, and also look out for the two young children in the cast and how the boy interacts with his father and the ex-partner of his father’s lover. The film relies very much on the characters, what the say and how they say it, and on the story and how that story is given to the audience. The cinematography is fantastic, getting in very close to the actors at times, but there are no sweeping landscapes etc to look at, this is a very intimate and almost documentary like film – I could easily imagine it being adapted and presented on stage. A film that deals with one’s actions and how they affect others both now and in some cases in the future, and it is brilliantly observed.

“The Past” has been nominated and/or won awards at numerous film festivals and other events, including Bérénice Bejo winning The Best Actress Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

On the DVD you get:

“The Past” (2 hours 5 minutes)
Scene Selection
Set Up: 2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Special Features:
Making Of (26 minutes)
Interviews: Ali Mosaffa (7 minutes), Bérénice Bejo (8 minutes), Tahar Rahim (6 minutes), Mahmoud Kalari (8 minutes).

The main film and all the extra features have English Subtitles which appear to be embedded and non-optional.
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on 15 February 2017
I missed the film originally but saw it on tele and bought it for my daughter (who was born in France). Amazing production, very moody, acting low key enough to be realistic. Nice to see a glimpse of immigration concerns from the other side. The dishyness of the male protagonist did not go unappreciated. Totally recommend this film.
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on 1 January 2016
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. My perspective, regarding the extremely difficult and diverse world in which we live, was given something to strengthen it too. Man...
One person found this helpful
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on 23 September 2017
with the impending demise of lovefilm I am appraising some of my favourites
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on 26 February 2015
An exceptional finely nuanced film telling a story about love, betrayal, misunderstanding and tragedy. All the characters have strong well written roles and from the start you feel the intensity as the narrative draws you in and the plot unfolds in a way that continues to surprise until the end.
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on 2 January 2016
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 you.
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on 29 April 2015
Superb well made film, class acting, delivers a very real feel, grabbed our attention from the off. The synopsis may suggest a tedious story but this is far from that, well worth a watch.
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on 11 January 2017
Love this director's work, loved the entire cast, loved everything about the film.
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