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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Past aka 'Le Passe' [Blu-ray]


(Asghar Farhadi, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Memento Films Production

Video: Artificial Eye



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime:  2:10:20.646

Disc Size: 46,989,351,262 bytes

Feature Size: 34,247,755,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 9th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3008 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3008 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)



English (burned-in)



Making Of... (25:48)
Interview with Ali Mosaffa (6:54)

Interview with Bérénice Bejo (7:36)

Interview with Tahar Rahim (5:32)

Interview with Mahmoud Kalari (8:19)

Trailer (1:56)





Description: Following a four-year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie's request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his stay, Ahmad quickly discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her daughter, Lucie. But Ahmad's attempts to build bridges between the two soon begin to encroach on Marie's new partner, Samir (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet), and as tensions begin to mount it soon becomes clear that the past is only close behind.

Directed by Palme d'Or winner Asgar Farhadi (A Separation) and featuring an unforgettable central performance by Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) that earned her the Best Actress award at Cannes 2013, The Past is a tight-knit family drama as gripping as any thriller.



The Film:

The Past, which has no exposition or flashbacks to help us fill in the details, proceeds to unveil a series of surprise revelations that grow increasingly disturbing. We begin on a rain-soaked Paris afternoon. Marie picks Ahmad up at the airport – struggling to communicate with him through the wall of glass, a metaphor for a communication barrier that’s used again several times in the film. Marie and Ahmad meet at the parking zone, cordial but with an underlying tension.

They bicker about her driving, about her failure to book a hotel for him. Marie has two daughters, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), 16, and Léa (Jeanne Jestin), who is about 6. They drop by Lucie’s high school to pick her up, but she’s left already. The mother reports that she’s been acting rebellious in recent months.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE

The Iranian writer and director Asghar Farhadi has been down this path before, notably with his art-house favorite “A Separation.” In that 2011 melodrama, the acrimony between an unhappily married husband and wife who, like shifting tectonic plates, create boundaries, cracks and fissures in their lives and those of everyone around them, including their emotionally rent daughter and an ailing relative. There are several more bad relationships in “The Past,” which opens in a French airport with Marie (Bérénice Bejo) greeting her estranged husband, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), who’s arrived from Iran. She’s asked him to return so they can divorce. From both the warmth and the awkwardness of their darting embrace — their bodies no longer intuitively fit together — it’s clear they’re not done working things through.

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Past gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  It solidly into dual-layered territory and has a supportive bitrate for the 2+hour feature. Colors look very true and contrast is impressive supporting some frequent depth. The 1080P has healthy, rich black levels and some crisp lines in the 1.78:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray probably looks exactly like the theatrical version of the film The Past. We get a very impressive video presentation.



















Audio :

The AE Blu-ray offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3008 or a linear PCM stereo at 2304 kbps - both in original French. The surround hints of separation but everything is of a subtle nature - mostly dialogue-driven scenes. The score by Youli Galperine and Evgueni Galperine sounds very crisp in lossless. The film doesn't really push the track. There are burned-in English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Artificial Eye include some supplements - all with English subtitles. Firstly a 25-minute Making Of... with 'behind the scenes' footage and filmmaker interviews. It is somewhat revealing. There are also almost a 1/2's worth of one-and-one interviews (mostly responding to specific, and similar, questions) with Ali Mosaffa, Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and the cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari. There is also an HD trailer.



Very impressively constructed film. The Past is wonderfully realized - excellent cinema.  The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides a fabulous a/v presentation with some keen supplements. This is a great way to see this penetrating, world-cinema, drama in your home theater. Don't miss this one! Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 15th, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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