There is much to say about “The past” by Asghar Farhadi but above all its highlight is definitely the strong and articulate scenario that follows the lead of an exciting movie despite the soberness of the story and the emotive co-issues it approaches regarding the effects after an attempted suicide as well as after a divorce on both children and adults. Farhadi’s movie should be seen by some Greek directors who “play” internationally in between languages of melodramatic banalities without adding anything new in the contemporary art and culture.
It is true that any kind of divorce robs us of the daily grind of family; like a “short or sudden death”, a divorce leaves hollow places in hearts. However, problems can be alleviated by accepting the reality so as to attain reconciliation with our past. This is the secret key of any emotive issue: reconciliation. In general, the movie “The past” (“Le Passé”) by Asghar Farhadi narrates the way to reconciliation even when the passage through grief is inevitable, from the beginning of rain drops at the airport until the end of two hands linked together like wings of a “hand-painted” life. The well constructed scenario of this physical-made movie is a proof that emotive issues can be approached by skilled directors who know how to make a difference and exploit all the data they have for the spectators’ needs.
To start with, it is commonly deduced that dealing with death in life is very significant. As a whole, life in motion is also a retrospection of death issues when past and present tend to be interwoven. “The past”, then, explores aspects of a death-dealing culture, whereas we are exposed to a death-denying culture of a greedy and affluent society in the real life. The movie is a mixture of difficult cases: first, a couple –Marie Brisson (exceptional Bérénice Bejo, i.e. “The artist”) and Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) - gets a divorce after their leading a separate life. This is the main issue. However, there are following co-issues to blossom out. One of them regards the new relationship of Marie Brisson with Samir (Tahar Rahim) followed by the attempted suicide of his wife. The reasons why she took this decision are to be looked into especially by the teenager Lucie (Pauline Burlet), daughter of Marie. Next, the children’s moods – as they live under these conditions and shape their own personal attitudes of anxiety, fear, anger or/and grief- relate to another issue to be examined closely, with respect to each character, according to the script. For instance, Fouad (Elyes Aguis), son of Samir, is nervous because he has undergone an emotional overdose comparing to his age. This is another subject that the movie handles successfully by showing the actions of which the sheath is the essence of contradictory emotions.
Thus, it would be interesting to recall the five steps of grief defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in the 1960s: these are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As a result, the masterful performance of Bérénice Bejo and all the cast, portrays the limits of the emotions when things aggravate and we realize how we get embittered because of confusion. Furthermore, the way that lights are used is also an indicator of a masterful construction, which doesn’t stick to the problem representation but surpasses it artistically. This turns also to be a suggestion for people to savor life fully and throw caution to the wind, as it is about their own, one and only life. In conclusion, Farhadi digs deeper into human psyche; he creates beauty and truth, if it can be put in words. Until the end, there is another corner of the problem to be seen clearly, as if making cinema were as enigmatic as the rest of a life based on matching incongruities.