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Trailer for Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” Starring Bérénice Bejo

An Iranian man deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife’s request for a divorce.

The trailer for The Past, a French-Iranian film that premiered at Cannes, hit the Internet today. The melodrama revolves around a man named Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) who returns home from Iran to find his wife Marie (Berenice Bejo) has taken a lover, an Arab man named Samir (Tahar Rahim) whose wife is in a coma, and wants a divorce. Director Asghar Farhadi has dealt with the topic of divorce before in the award-winning Iranian film A Separation.

The film has earned rave reviews.

If “The Past” is perhaps not the same level of masterwork as “A Separation,” it’s still the work of a master. Its central theme, common to both melodramas and thrillers – we all believe we can run away from our past, but it catches up to us eventually – is after all not Western or Eastern, Christian or Muslim or secular, but simply human. [Salon]

Farhadi’s sense of pacing is superb, and he has a genuine feel for the way our personal histories entangle us even as we strive with all our might to move on. He also gets a forceful, diva-like performance from Bejo (Best Actress winner at Cannes), who pulls off the extraordinary feat of humanizing a woman who, on paper, is a total shrew. [The Atlantic]

There is so much that Farhadi and his latest film does right, and does well, that you’re eager to follow where he takes the story regardless. Mature and real in a way that dramas rarely aspire too, “The Past” posits that sometimes the only way to move on from where you’ve been, is to turn around and face it head on. [IndieWire]

The Past opens in select theaters on December 20, 2013.