The Past Tuesday, Jan. 14

“We have to forget,” a man tells his lover in The Past, Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his 2012 Oscar winner, A Separation. The woman responds, “Is that possible?” Probably not with this modern family. Marie (Berenice Bejo) is a Frenchwoman who asks her ex, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), to travel from his native Iran to sign divorce papers four years after he left. While they were married, Ahmad was a father figure to Marie’s two girls, the now-teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet) and younger sibling, Lea (Jeanne Jestin), from other relationships. But he wasn’t aware that Marie was also now living with two boys: petulant little Fouad (Elyes Aguis) and his father, Samir (Tahar Rahim). And Marie didn’t book a hotel for him, so she essentially throws her new life into Ahmad’s face. Rather similar in tone, intensity, and truth to A Separation, The Past wrestles with themes such as depression, infidelity, bitterness, and the tremendously difficult tasks of forgiveness and letting go. Instead of feeling like a too-heavy melodrama you’d rather tune out, Farhadi has again created a riveting peek into the issues people face behind closed doors. The film opens Jan. 10 at area theaters. See Page 49 for showtimes.

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