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The Past (Le Passé)

ONE SHOW ONLY!
SUNDAY, MAY 25th @ 1:00 PM

Asghar Farhadi may have left his native Iran to shoot a picture in Paris starring Bérénice Bejo, but in all the ways that count, The Past couldn’t feel closer to home. Like 2011’s Oscar-winning A Separation, this is an exquisitely sculpted family melodrama in which the end of a marriage is merely the beginning of something else, an indelible tapestry of carefully engineered revelations and deeper human truths. All the ingredients of a pressure-cooker scenario are in place at the outset, as Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) arrives in Paris from Tehran to finalize his divorce from wife Marie (Bejo) after a four-year separation. Almost immediately the two start bickering, not entirely in the manner of a couple ready to call it quits, although the various complications that Farhadi gradually reveals, layer by layer, preclude any serious possibility of a reconciliation. Once the soon-to-be-exes arrive at Marie’s charmingly ramshackle abode, where she lives with two daughters from a prior relationship, Ahmad becomes embroiled in a nearly untenable situation. Marie’s eldest, sullen teenager Lucie (Pauline Burlet) strongly disapproves of her mother’s plans to wed Samir (Tahar Rahim), the latest in a line of boyfriends. Marie’s other daughter, Léa, and Samir’s son, Fouad, scamper underfoot, causing trouble in the harmless but disruptive manner of young tots. In crises big and small, Ahmad is called upon to be a rational, stabilizing force, even as his very presence is a source of tension. The Past is, in some ways, a curious title for a film that unfolds so urgently and rigorously in the present tense. Farhadi’s script supplies no flashbacks and wastes no time on exposition, instead mining emotion and insight from all the petty resentments and (seemingly) thoughtless remarks that define everyday existence. And yet the past emerges nonetheless; it’s what the characters, nursing their grudges and regrets, can’t bring themselves to move beyond, and it’s what the meticulously crafted surface of Farhadi’s film reveals despite its inexorable forward momentum. In a performance of bristling intelligence and verbal acuity that may surprise audiences who know only her silent turn from The Artist, Bejo embodies a particular brand of hotheaded, hopelessly romantic Gallic femininity without tilting into cliché. Mosaffa is remarkable as a well-intentioned outsider with a melancholy streak, hinting at a history of depression that factors into the story at various points. Rahim emerges later in the proceedings but becomes a prominent and sympathetic figure, in perfect keeping with Farhadi’s highly democratic methods. – Justin Chang, Variety Official Trailer
Showtimes: 

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Asghar Farhadi
Running Time: 
130
Country(ies): 
France
Language: 
French and Persian with English Subtitles
Starring: 
Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim, Pauline Burlet
Screenplay by: 
Asghar Farhadi, Massoumeh Lahidji

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