The Academy Award-winning Iranian director's film received rave reviews at the fest and will soon be released in India
Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi's The Past drew a keen audience, which remained glued to their seats till almost 11pm on Monday and stood in unison to applaud the director's vision behind the film, screened at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) in Mumbai.
Audiences queued up outside the 736-seater Liberty cinema one hour before the show began, and sure enough, it was houseful. Viewers from 17 to 70 years of age raved about the film, which is Iran's entry for the Oscar's best foreign film category this year.
Noted film critic Rajeev Masand introduced Farhadi to the audience, which received him with a standing ovation.
There was absolute silence throughout the film and every time a cell phone rang, there was a sigh of disgust. The Past, which is set against the backdrop of France, revolves around three key characters. What happens when an Iranian man returns after four years to meet his soon-to-be ex-wife and comes to learn that she is living with an Arab man - the events that unfold between them pave way to the climax.
As soon as the end credits rolled down the screen, audiences stood in unison and clapped enthusiastically as Farhadi took centrestage for the question-and-answer session.
The film was as "powerful" as Farhadi's Oscar-winning movie A Separation, said one of the patrons. "The best part of about Farhadi's films is that they are simple and are easy to relate to because they mostly revolve around complicated human relationships, which are quite reminiscent of our own lives. It was as powerful as the last film," said Aloknath.
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For 78-year-old R Natarajan, The Past was one of the eagerly awaited films of the fest. "His films always leave with a question that you need to answer by putting yourself in the shoes of the characters. I was really looking forward to the film and I'm glad it turned out to be so good," said Natarajan, a retired bank employee.
Masand also announced that on Monday the film was also picked up for Indian distribution. It is slated to release here soon.
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