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1,384 Ratings

The Past

Le passé

Directed by Asghar Farhadi
France, Italy, 2013


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 brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie.

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The Past Directed by Asghar Farhadi
If A Separation is about firm lines and portals, and what happens which you let someone who “doesn’t belong” enter your threshold, The Past details the dangers of ragged endings, things that cling and hang on, people as ghosts and vestigial appendages. Farhadi even illuminates this change of emphasis with his choices of architectural mise en scéne, the crisp glassy interior of the earlier film contrasting dramatically with The Past’s French semi-craftsman home…
May 01, 2014
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Technically, it’s very straight and tight, with only a handful of stylistic flourishes to take you momentarily out of the drama (including an extremely moving long final shot). The Past is more muted and Bergmanesque than A Separation and less playfully academic than his 2009 film, About Elly. The deep browns and beiges of the colour scheme perfectly convey the muddiness of the situation, while the pacing gets more frantic as matters accordion out in all directions.
March 27, 2014
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…Farhadi handles this progression well, foregrounding the narrative with a realistic sense of place and character, even as the plot becomes more complex. Defined by its twists, The Past represents an overt push into straightforward melodrama, which isn’t a problem for a director clearly capable of handling the form; the film’s lukewarm reception can mostly be attributed blowback from the hugely successful A Separation.
January 16, 2014
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