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So begins "The Past" (2013), Farhadi's eagerly anticipated sixth film, which will commence its Beirut theatrical run Thursday at Metropolis Cinema-Sofil.Farhadi's follow-up, "A Separation" (2011), won most every significant national and international award for which it was eligible – sweeping up several prizes after its world premiere at the Berlinale (including the Golden Bear) and at Iran's Fajr Film Festival, then winning the 2012 Golden Globe and Academy awards for best foreign film.Unlike "About Elly," for instance, both these films take up the stories of nuclear families about to come to pieces – though the divorce in the new film is uncontested.It may be the decentering "foreignness" of "The Past" that has made critics wary: The work is undeniably Farhadi's, yet (like the late films of his countryman Abbas Kiarostami) it doesn't look Iranian; it resembles, and in production terms is, a French film but its outsider perspective means it doesn't move like one.The film belongs to Bejo, however, whose depiction of the manipulative Marie-Ann believably mingles strength, weakness and culpability, while leaving her a basically sympathetic character.
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