Oscars: Iran to Submit Asghar Farhadi's 'The Past' for Foreign Language Category

"The Past"

The director's previous film, 2001's "A Separation," won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

Asghar Farhadi’s The Past has been selected by Iran as its submission for the foreign-language film Academy Award.

PressTV, the Iranian international news network, reported Sunday that Iran’s Farabi Cinema Foundation chose Farhadi’s feature, which is set in Paris, from a shortlist of 12 films, which included Parvis Shabazi’s Trapped, which was considered its main competition.

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While Farhadi’s previous film, 2001’s A Separation, won the Oscar for best foreign film, and Farhadi was nominated for best original screenplay, conservatives in Iran had argued against choosing The Past. The Fars news agency criticized the film, saying, “There is nothing Iranian in this film apart from a character who could have come from any other country.”

The Past, which is in French and Persian, concerns an Iranian man (Ali Mosaffa) who returns to Paris to finalize a divorce from his wife (Berenice Bejo), who has begun a relationship with another man (Tahar Rahim).

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It debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Bejo won the award for best actress.

Sony Pictures Classics is distributing the film in the U.S., where it will open in limited release Dec. 20.