Fernando M., Here…
Such a strange and intriguing film. “The Past” is barely a story, but more of a character study. Director Asghar Farhadi creates a somber ambiance, and knows exactly how to lead his actors through it. Bérénice Bejo, most known for her role in “The Artist,” is fantastic as an incredibly stressed and troubled woman, trying to find sense in the psychological mess that she’s in. An equally strong performance by Ali Mosaffa, who acts more with the expression of his eyes than anything else.
The premise of the film is a strange one to describe without revealing too much, but suffice to say that it is complex, yet sufficiently relatable. It deals with the actions that we commit due to a myriad of motives, and their inescapable consequences; in this case, incredibly dire consequences. The viewer is led through an emotional trial of love, loss, jealousy, guilt, and angst. I know this is starting to sound cliche’d, but the end result is far from this.
Incredibly captivating was the fact that this film maintains no soundtrack whatsoever throughout the initial two hours of its run. Without the atmospheric cues that we are all used to, we are not given a direction to place our emotions. Rather, the viewer is thrown in an almost ultra-realistic scenario with these characters. We are forced to figure out our own feelings alongside these incredibly confused personas.
In the end, the film plays out like a true modern noir. The story’s layers unfold beautifully giving us little glimpses into the past, each revelation being slowly introduced through self realization without the need to rely on any sort of flashback mechanism. Highly recommended for anybody who wants to go through what I can only describe as “an experience.” Though those looking for a conflict and resolution story may want to steer clear; but viewers wanting a work of art will leave sufficiently satisfied.
– Fernando Martinez