Iranian Oscar winning director Asghar Farhadi premiered a drama called “The Past” at Cannes on Friday.
The Past picks up many of the family themes and the taut drama of the Tehran-based A Separation, which saw Farhadi scoop the Academy Award for best foreign-language film last year.
Farhadi said his decision to set his movie in France this time was for the sake of the story, not because of any restriction on artists at home.
“I can work for years outside Iran but I do remain a very Iranian director. Of course the set may change but I don’t change,” Farhadi told reporters.
Le Passé or The Past is a slow film which takes place over a few days in the lives of ordinary working people in a Paris suburb.
Ahmad – played by Ali Mostaffa – is the husband flown back to France from Tehran to officially become the ex-husband of Marie, played by Franco-Argentinan actress Bérénice Béjo, who is known internationally as the star of The Artist.
Being put to the test at Cannes, where “The Past” is vying for the Palm awards, this film was opening on the same day in cinemas in France. Expectations are high as Farhadi was notably acclaimed in France for his film A Separation in 2011, seen by one million spectators.
Farhadi hadn’t planned to make his next film outside Iran. Nor had he planned to work with “The Artist’s” Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim of “A Prophet” and top Iranian actor Ali Mosaffa, However, when “The Past’s” story came to him, he went with it.