Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Past (Le Passé)

Coming at you in the near future (l’avenir proche) is The Past (Le Passé), a French-Italian-Iranian drama film written and directed by the presumably successful Asghar Farhadi, starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa  Incase you can’t be bothered to sit through two hours of the film, or six hundred words of my review, I really didn’t enjoy it very much. It was nominated for everything, won loads of things and has a ninety four percent rating on aggregate review sites, which kind of implies that I will soon meet a film studies graduate who will explain to me at great length why I just didn’t ‘get it’. Which I would agree with, especially if they’re a French girl.

The film is about Ahmad, an Iranian man who has made his way across some waters or lands to arrive in France to perform the overly joyful task of divorcing his wife. Having been away for a while his soon to be ex-wife Marie, who collects children like Pokémon, has decided to get married again to someone with their own child. Awkwardly enough this guy, Samir, is currently already married to a literally comatose woman who was very depressed and tried to kill herself for some unknown reason by drinking a large amount of Daz. From then on it’s arguments about all the previous information. It is very well acted and the tension is real and sobering. I did feel a tad awkward most of the time, a bit like when your friend’s mum starts yelling at your friend while you’re still in the kitchen and you don’t know what to say or do or where to go, or which laundry detergent to drink.

Some people hate the old husband, some hate the new one, some hate the daughters, some hate the mum so no matter how you look at it, arguments are going to start flying about. The whole film feels like someone polished an episode of Eastenders, filmed it in French and submitted it to Cannes. There can’t be anywhere in France where everyone is so perpetually miserable all the time. Roughly just thirty minutes in I had already poured myself a Persil non-bio and coke just to take the edge off and in fact fell asleep, having to rematch the whole thing again which was as joyful as a simile but an even worse and lazier one than that.

The feeling that the director and scriptwriter got bored with their own film is very apparent and the characterization, though realistic, gets to the point of being painfully sexist. Hysterical female characters and the calm collected male characters coming to save the day, is the only real relationship dynamic that exists within the confines of the film. Every man acts like a middle aged fed-up James Bond character and all the women are like Kristen Stewart in the Twilight Franchise mixed with a proximity grenade of abuse and hair pulling. The film is basically women overreacting to problems, men calming them down, plot twists and revelations confusing the men for while and then women freaking out ad infinitum.

Though it felt realistic and artistic I’d rather eat a urinal cake plastered in fois gras. Thanks though.

I’m not gonna say The Past (Le Passé) wasn’t good but I didn’t enjoy it, it gets a 3/5.


Dave Roberts

The Past (Le Passé) at CeX

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