Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi‘s career had been moving from one moderate critical and modest commercial success to another for some years before the rapturous reception afforded 2011’s A SEPARATION shot him into more rarefied territory. How to follow it?
Well, why not try a variation on the same theme? LE PASSÉ (released in the States as THE PAST, which seems about right) presents us with another divorcing couple and another tensely contested complex of interpersonal entanglements. Echoes of the earlier film abound — each plot turns on the couple’s daughter (and/or step-daughter), is haunted by illness at its periphery, and concerns itself with questions of guilt and forgiveness. LE PASSÉ, then, is another melodrama permeated with the ambiance of a thriller, but this time the action unfolds in Paris rather than Tehran, in French rather than Persian (for the most part), and without the political dimension that provided A SEPARATION with so much of its depth and menace.
With this somber, immaculately presented soap opera, buttressed by faultless performances and all-too-faultless production values, Farhadi caters to an art-cinema audience still besotted with the “tradition of quality” against which Godard et al launched their rebellion more than fifty years ago.
LE PASSÉ (2013) DIR. ASGHAR FARHADI // 6/19 @ 6PM
Free! $5.00 suggested donation
RSVP Required (call 617-912-0400)
French Cultural Center
53 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116