Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi wowed North American audiences in 2011 with his striking drama, A Separation, ultimately winning the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film and being nominated for Original Screenplay. His new film, The Past, stars Bérénice Bejo as a woman beginning a new relationship as she finalizes her divorce.
When the film screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, the consensus seemed to be that it was a film on a smaller scale than A Separation, but just as powerful. It won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, and Bejo won the Best Actress Award. This trailer doesn’t show very much of her performance, but the praise for it has been practically universal.
The trailer suggests a restrained, mostly quiet film that builds to a boiling point. It’s the kind of story that most major filmmakers either aren’t interested in making or aren’t able to make, so it’s an inherently welcome change of pace. Real, adult, mature drama (for lack of a better phrase) is a rare breed in contemporary film as everything becomes increasingly commercial, yada yada yada, but the fact that films like The Past (and A Separation) merely exist, let alone ones that are so excellent, is promising and comforting. Watch the trailer below:
The Past, which also stars Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa, has been selected as Iran’s entry for this year’s Foreign-Language Film award at the Oscars, and opens in limited release on December 20.