Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
YESTERDAY
New Kingsman Images Show Samuel L. Jackson
And Colin Firth deploys his umbrella for The Secret Service
Brian G. Hutton 1935 - 2014
The Where Eagles Dare director dies aged 79
David Yates Up For Fantastic Beasts
Harry Potter veteran director in talks for spin-off
White Bird In A Blizzard In A Trailer
Shailene Woodley loses Eva Green
Jeremy Lovering Prepares For The Bringing
In Fear director heads for Cecil Hotel
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
06 June 2013
Sony Wants To Remake A Prophet
Jacques Audiard's Oscar nominee will be adapted
More Movie News

RELATED REVIEWS
Grand Central (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Informant (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Past (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Our Children (2013)
Empire Star Rating
About Elly (2012)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Cannes 2013: First Reaction To The Past
The first serious Palme D'Or potential hoves into view

17 May 2013  |  Written by Damon Wise  

submit to reddit

 
Friday morning saw the first heavyweight contender for the Palme d'Or unveiled, with Asghar Farhadi's follow-up to A Separation playing to a packed house in the Lumiere Theatre. Continuing that film's themes, The Past is another story of divorce, this time in a French setting, as the Tehran-based Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to the suburbs of Paris to sign the end of his marriage to Marie (Bérénice Bejo). At 130 minutes, it was certainly a long haul, but the film received an overwhelmingly positive reception and immediately became a frontrunner for awards glory.
 
Slightly reminiscent of Guillaume Canet's Little White Lies (a similarity that would have been more obvious had not original star Marion Cotillard dropped out), The Past is an elegantly scripted family drama that plays out almost like a Nordic noir, uncovering details and secrets that hinge on Marie's somewhat chaotic love life. As Ahmad finds out, Marie is about to set up with Samir (Tahar Rahim), a near carbon copy of Ahmad, much to the disgust of her eldest daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). But Lucie has more on her mind than jealousy, as everyone is soon to find out.
 
At this stage of Cannes it's still far too early to make grand predictions, but it does seem likely that the film's themes of fractured marriages and families might find favour with jury president Steven Spielberg. Acting, directing and scriptwriting prizes all seem well within its grasp, too, so The Past is extremely unlikely to go home completely unrewarded.
 
Even if it does, however, this is one of the best domestic dramas to screen in Cannes in many years, telling a story so gripping and involving that it becomes easy to forget that almost literally nothing happens – it is part of the subtle craft of Farhadi's film that the meat of the drama unfolds retroactively, in the mind's eye.
 

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Cannes 2013: Weinstein Company Showcase
From James Corden singing to Kristen Scott Thomas screaming
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script

Your Comments

It was great.
Saw it today. It is a little slow paced and the stakes are not as high as "A Seperation". But ultimately I liked it. The ending was powerful and won me over. More

Posted by Atlantis at 00:30 on 18 May 2013 | Report This Post

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)