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They say French dramas can be the most-telling and humanistic... and this one continues that tradition. Remarkable performance by Berenice Bejo (from THE ARTIST). Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi sets a high bar with this one.
Rich, rich naturalism. free of hollywood gloss. morally complex characters, stand out acting especially from Berenice Bejo--who is most morally complex and has most emotional range of all characters. the men come off a bit too good to be true but still believable. the child actors are all marvelous. Family life cross-hatched with immigrant realities in France. a realistic paris of bare almost barren suburban outposts. Good storytelling. Mostly it's the naturalism. the rhythm of the movie is perfectly slow, and direction is wonderfully attuned to the innuendos of daily living. can't praise it enough. I do think The Separation is probably stronger though. but both are power houses
Interesting look into how relationships can have unforeseen affects. The relationships are the following: ex second husband, current lover, child of current lover, child of women from her first marriage, woman married twice with child, and multiple lovers from the time she left her returning second husband and her current lover. Another woman who has a working relationship with the current lover. I lost teach about the first husband. Complicated, but interesting. Made me soooo happy to have my stable, normal relationship with my two dogs. Bachelor forever.
Another winner from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. This is an intricate, complex [not difficult to follow however, touching and sad movie. I wouldn't rate it quite as highly as others he has directed, viz. Separation and About Elly. The Past was very well done and should not be missed if you've seen the aforementioned films. If you haven't seen the others, treat yourself.
A very well made story of an Iranian families in Paris. The women who has been divorced twice wishes to marry a married man, but his daughter who is very close to last ex-husband, join to stop her from doing so.
I read a bunch of reviews that touted this movie as THE foreign film of the year. Not so. The performances are good and the story line is decent, but it is a little self-aware for my taste. Furthermore, the drama is self-created: sad, but not tragic.
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.
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.
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). Trailer
The main film and all the extra features have English Subtitles which appear to be embedded and non-optional.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2019
the past in this film bleeds messily into the present and future; bit like life, then. And this film, in its cinema verite fashion, delivers a dose of truth about how adult games of lust and neediness and deception damage the next generation . And how impossible it is to alter those consequences. Bit of a downer, perhaps, but so well acted, so unsparing in its clear examination, well worth a look
5.0 out of 5 starsRealistic passions and moral concerns of a corner of France.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 15, 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.
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...