Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Le Passe
Memento Films Production, France 3 Cinéma, BIM Distribuzione, Canal+, Ciné+, France Télévisions, Eurimages, Région Ile-de-France, Centre National de la Cinématographie, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Memento Films Distribution, Cofinova 9, Indéfilms, Cinémage 7, Palatine Étoile 10, Alvy Distribution, CN3 Productions. France/Italy, 2013. Screenplay by Asghar Farhadi. Cinematography by Mahmoud Kalari. Produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy. Music by Evgueni Galperine, Youli Galperine. Production Design by Claude Lenoir. Costume Design by Jean-Daniel Vuillermoz. Film Editing by Juliette Welfling. Cannes Film Festival 2013. Golden Globe Awards 2013. National Board of Review Awards 2013. New York Film Critics Awards 2013. North Carolina Film Critics Awards 2013. Toronto International Film Festival 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2013.
Ali Mosaffa arrives in Paris at the home of his ex-wife (Berenice Bejo) to sign divorce papers and allow her to marry her current lover (Tahar Rahim). As soon as he gets to her house he is drawn into family drama as she asks him to help resolve issues with her daughter (a superb Pauline Burlet) who objects to her new relationship. Mosaffa is at first delicate in his involvement with these characters from a past he did not mean to get thrust back into, but it is not long before the situation progresses to deeply felt interactions with revelations at each passing turn of the plot. Asghar Farhadi has followed his masterful A Separation with a complete change of pace, a film without the rock-hard tension of his previous film but played out in subtle, easily paced scenes that are nevertheless absorbing in their method of unlocking secrets. It’s a film in which real people are plunged into movie melodrama, a rich combination of heightened narrative that works thanks to intelligent dialogue, and a perfectly cohesive cast whose plight you are always sympathetic to. It will run a bit too long for some, but it is worth seeing this gorgeous intimate epic through to the devastatingly beautiful conclusion.