The Past is a French film from Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, who is known for his acclaimed 2011 film A Separation. The Past, like his last film, starts with a somewhat ordinary event and over the course of two hours peels away the layers, through twists and turns and revelations, we finally get to the truth. In this case, it’s about Iranian Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returning to Paris to finally sign the divorce papers from his separated wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo). The problem is Marie wants Ahamd to talk to her oldest daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet), who seems to be having a hard time adjusting to the fact that Marie wants to marry her new life-in boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim). Without spoiling anything, it’s suffice to say that not everything is as simple as it is made out to be from the start.
A Separation was my favorite film of 2011 and The Past is making itself out to be my favorite film of 2013. The way the story naturally unfolds with the each of the new bits of information changing how you feel about everyone and their actions is amazing. In a way the movie feels documentary-like as we are sucked into the drama and share the same goal as the characters: to find the truth. While it isn’t as subjective as A Separation the story in The Past leaves you conflicted about the characters and their actions. It helps that all of the acting is top-notch, even from the kids. I thought Cate Blanchett was a lock for Best Actress for Blue Jasemine, but Bérénice Bejo outshines her with this incredible role. There isn’t much more praise I can say other than it’s another great film from a master filmmaker that far too few people know about.