Wednesday 23 October 2013

Le Passé (The Past) [2013]

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to the multi-award winner A Separation, Le Passé, is an absorbing and even exhilarating marital drama deftly underscored with myriad deeply resonating emotions. It is, as aptly pointed out by a critic, a ‘loss-of-love triangle’, and powerfully but subtly explored such elements as familial dysfunction, the ensuing angst and identity crisis among the children, and how regret, jealousy and insecurity fill one’s life when past and present relationships get intertwined. Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), an Iranian man who earlier resided in France, arrives in Paris in order to finalize his divorce with his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo), who is now in a relationship with the younger Samir (Tahar Rahim). However, upon arriving, he realizes that all is not well since Marie’s stunningly beautiful teenage daughter from an earlier marriage, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), is finding it nearly impossible to accept her mom’s new relationship, which in turn is pushing Marie to the edge. Meanwhile Samir’s kid son, too, is at odds with his new parentage. As the kindly Ahmad delves into Lucie’s thought processes upon Marie’s request, a secret starts getting unearthed that might prove tragic for all. There are no good or bad guys here, just flawed and real people. Though, in essence, a gut-wrenching drama about the various complex shades of love and guilt, Farhadi structured it in the form of a domestic mystery, which provided a terrific arc to the sense of tension and made the brilliantly paced human story even more engaging. The acting was especially memorable – Bejo, as the volatile and stressed out mother, and Burlet, as her fragile and conflicted daughter, were just fabulous.

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Psychological Drama/Marriage Drama
Language: French/Persian
Country: France

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