Sony Pictures Classics has landed U.S. rights at Cannes to The Past (Le Passe), Iranian helmer Asghar Farhadi’s ambitious drama starring Oscar nominee Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Ali Mosaffa and Tahar Rahim. The film is an early contender for the Palme d’Or, with reaction and reviews very strong after it screened Friday in competition. (Watch the trailer here.) The Memento Films production’s twisting plot involves secrets, lies, deceit, divorce, affairs, comas, pregnancy and other traumatic situations. Bejo stepped into the lead role after Oscar winner Marion Cotillard had to exit due to a scheduling conflict. Paris-based Memento Films International is handling worldwide sales. Michael Barker and Tom Bernard’s SPC also handled Farhadi’s A Separation, which grossed $19.9M worldwide and won the foreign-language film Oscar last year.
EXCLUSIVE: Iranian-born director Asghar Farhadi won the Foreign Language Oscar for his 2011 film A Separation. Today, his French-language The Past was announced as part of the official Cannes Competition. The film also deals with the theme of separation: When Ahmad returns to Paris after four years in Tehran in order to finalize his divorce from his French wife, a secret from the past is revealed. Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa star. Paris-based Memento Films Production produced and its international sales arm is handling worldwide rights. Here’s the first officially subtitled trailer:
The Artist star Bérénice Bejo will replace Marion Cotillard in the next film from A Separation director Asghar Farhadi after scheduling conflicts forced a switch, Paris-based producer Memento confirms. Shooting starts in October in and around Paris on the untitled French-language picture that also stars A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim. Story details are under wraps on what’s been coined as a picture in the vein of A Separation with an element of suspense. Memento’s Alexandre Mallet-Guy is producing and Memento is handling international sales. The film is expected to be ready in spring 2013 – just in time for Cannes.
EXCLUSIVE: Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director who won the Best Foreign Language Academy Award for A Separation, has signed with UTA. The family drama set in Tehran has earned critical and popular support throughout the international film community after its world premiere a year ago at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, where it earned Farhadi the Best Director award. It won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival and landed Sony Pictures Classics as distributor before making its U.S. debut at the Telluride Film Festival Film. That is where the agents began courting Farhadi. The film also won both a Golden Globe award and a Cesar awards before winning the Oscar. UTA is Farhadi’s first agency representation.
Iran’s official entry to the Oscars for Foreign-Language Film this week took honors as best foreign independent film at the Moet British Independent Film Awards. Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation deals with the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh, but Nader refuses to leave his father, who has Alzheimer’s. According to the New York Times, it starts as a family drama, turns into something else altogether and somewhat mysteriously has emerged as a real contender in the category. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics, it opens December 30 in limited release.