The 2013 Cannes Film Festival just wrapped and a unanimous highlight was latest from celebrated Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, “The Past” starring Berenice Bejo (“The Artist“) and Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet”). Winner of Cannes’ Best Actress Award for Bejo, “The Past” captures the emotional turmoil that surfaces when an Iranian man (Ali Mosaffa) returns to France to finalize his divorce and is forced to confront the new realities which he, and his wife (Berenice Bejo) now face. Rahim stars as Bejo’s new lover. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film later this year in the US; be sure to look out for it in early 2014 Oscar lists.
Farhadi’s previous film, “A Separation” was a world-wide sensation and won the 2012 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. An intimate, emotionally complex film, “A Separation” focuses on a middle class Iranian couple, whose pending divorce reveals the dense layers of class, religion and national identity that their personal lives are intricately bound together in. At once a stunning account of family and the dissolution of a marriage, “A Separation” is also a haunting portrait of contemporary Iranian society.
“Showing a control of investigative pacing that recalls classic Hitchcock and a feel for ethical nuance that is all his own, Farhadi has hit upon a story that is not only about men and women, children and parents, justice and religion in today’s Iran, but that raises complex and globally relevant questions of responsibility, of the subjectivity and contingency of ‘telling the truth’, and of how thin the line can be between inflexibility and pride – especially of the male variety – and selfishness and tyranny.” Lee Marshall, Screen Daily.
Watch “A Separation:”