Timeless, personal stories in ‘The Past’

Fort Worth Star-TelegramMarch 14, 2014 

Iranian writer / director Asghar Farhadi made a global splash with the film “A Separation,” which won the Oscar for a foreign-language film in 2012. But that movie’s title could easily apply to his latest work, “The Past,” in which all the characters are separated from each other by a wall of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

While not as powerful as the previous film, “The Past” nevertheless is a fascinating, slow-burn depiction of a relationship in crisis.

Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”) is Marie Brisson, a French pharmacist who has summoned her estranged Iranian husband, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), back to France so they can finally put the legal finishing touches on their divorce. She’s now involved with Samir (Tahar Rahim, “A Prophet”) and wants to rid herself of old emotional baggage.

Making things sticky are her two children from prior relationships – the rebellious teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet) and amiable prepubescent Lea (Jeanne Jestin) – and Samir’s young son, the hard-to-manage Fouad (Elyes Aguis). Needless to say, what Marie thought would be a simple goodbye to her prior life ends up being a complicated beginning to something else.

THE PAST

H H H H 1/2

Cast: Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Running time: 2:10

Rated: PG-13; mature thematic material, brief strong language. In French and Farsi with English subtitles.

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