The Past (Le passe) (2013)

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Released 6-Jun-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Progaganda x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 124:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Asghar Farhadi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Berenice Bejo
Ali Mosaffa
Tahar Rahim
Elyes Aguis
Jeanne Jestin
Pauline Burlet
Sabrina Ouazani
Babak Karimi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Evgueni Galperine
Youli Galperine


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     At the request of his estranged wife Marie (Berenice Bejo), Iranian man Ahmed (Ali Mosaffa) returns to France from Tehran after four years to finalise their divorce. Upon his arrival, Ahmed finds that Marie has been living with Samir (Tahar Rahim) and is pregnant. Also living in the house is Samir’s young son Fouad (Elyes Aguis), Marie’s preteen daughter Lea (Jeanne Jestin) and Marie’s sixteen year old daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet), who is very hostile to the idea of her mother marrying again. Without meaning to Ahmed is drawn into their conflicts and interrelationships, as well as the puzzle of Fouad’s mother who has been in a coma for eight months after a suicide attempt.

     The Past is a film without music, except over the credits; the result is a natural sound stage of rain, cars and trains, with long still camera takes which allow the dialogue, and the expressions, our full attention. Indeed, from the very first scenes when Marie meets Ahmed at the airport, it is clear from the dialogue that much is being left unspoken, and that the past retains its grip. For her role in The Past Berenice Bejo won the Best Actress Award at Cannes in 2013, and she is simply superb, with a multilayered performance that matches the multilayered script. However, both Ali Mosaffa and Tahar Rahim are also excellent and even smaller roles, such as Sabrina Ouazani as the worker Naime with a secret and Babak Karimi as the café owner, are well realised. There are no villains in this film, and no evil people; every action characters take is real, believable and understandable, but for most the past has too firm a hold, and none, not even the youngest, is spared pain and hurt.

     The Past (Le passe) is Iranian writer / director Asghar Farhadi’s follow up to A Separation, the film that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards. It is another brilliantly written and realised film about lies, unspoken guilt, and letting go of the past. It is compelling viewing and the end of the film offers no easy answers; indeed the last image is of hands holding onto the past. Choices remain, and life goes on.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Past is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Filmed using Arri Alexa cameras the print is sharp and detailed throughout. The colours have that glossy digital look but otherwise are natural. Blacks are solid, shadow detail fine, brightness and contrast is consistent, except for a couple of scenes with the light source behind the actor which become glary. Skin tones are natural and do not show that usual digital yellowish tinge.

     There was some ghosting but otherwise artefacts and marks were absent.

     The layer change was not noticeable.

    English subtitles are in an easy to read yellow font and seemed to be timely and error free.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     This is an interesting audio track due to the total absence of music during the film itself. The dialogue was always clear and centred, and the surrounds and rears used appropriately for weather effects such as rain, crowds, passing trains and vehicles. There were also a lot of silences in the film, which occurred without any noise or hiss. I did not notice any subwoofer use, but the film did not require any.

     The original score occurring over the credits was by Evgueni and Youli Galperine.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The audio track was appropriate for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Interviews With Cast and Crew (27:52)

     Subtitled interviews with cast members Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa and cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari. The cast members speak about their characters, the direction, rehearsals, the script. Kalari’s interview is more technical, including working with the director, the camera and the look of scenes. All interviews are frank and interesting, not just saying how good everything was, so are well worth watching.

Theatrical Trailer (1:52)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for Much Ado About Nothing (1:46), What Maisie Knew (2:13), The Hunt (2:02) and Happiness Never Comes Alone (1:53).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     A review of the US release indicates that both the Blu-ray and the DVD include a director’s commentary, a making of (27 min) and a Q&A session with the director (38 min). I cannot find a listing of extras on the Region 2 UK release. Although our extras are interesting this seems a win for Region 1.

Summary

     The Past is a brilliantly written, acted and realised film that kept me entranced. It is compelling viewing and the ending is powerful and offers no easy answers. Anyone who enjoyed A Separation or who is interested in superior filmmaking will enjoy unlocking the mysteries of The Past.

     The video and the audio are fine; the extras are interesting although we miss out on the commentary and extras available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 16, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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