Following the huge international success of A Separation, the Iranian filmmaker is in the Official Selection for the first time, with a film shot in France and in French. It is also about a divorce, but this time one in the past. A past which prevents the different characters from looking to the future.
Photo © RR
Asghar Farhadi is in selection at Cannes for the first time, but he had a taste of it the year before last when he came to receive the European Union Media award (which this year goes to Thomas Vinterberg), an award given to a project with a strong potential for success. It was in fact awarded for The Past, which at the time was still in script form.
Farhadi's art and its universal nature are evident from the start in his writing. The style is intuitive, with several stories coming together in a shared situation. There is great virtuosity is Farhadi's scripts: the structure is always complex but fluid. He seeks to show the difficulties inherent in relationships between people, the choices faced by everyone, choices which make us question our values and our convictions. Central to his work are marital, or perhaps more accurately familial conflicts, for children always have an important role in Farhadi's films. The Past is no exception, with young Lucie being the key to the story.
Farhadi's characters are often caught up in a moral dilemma, but the filmmaker never gives an answer, leaving the spectator to judge, as can be seen in the opening scene of A Separation, in which the camera takes the place of the judge (at the beginning of the trailer below).
The precision that is so clear is his writing is also to be found the direction of the actors - with whom he rehearses for several weeks until they become their characters - and of course in the mise en scène, which is constantly reinvented and always serves to justly convey the characters' story. This is what makes Farhadi's films universal, even when anchored in the reality of Iran, which has been the case until now.
Béatrice de Mondenard
Friday 17th May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 8.30 a.m. - 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday 18th May / Salle du Soixantième / noon