Asghar Farhadi's 'The Past' Selected Foreign-Language

Iran's move comes amid rapprochement with U.S.

Iran has submitted “The Past,” by “A Separation” director Asghar Farhadi, as its candidate for the foreign-language film Academy Award race.

The choice, which comes amid the rapprochement under way between Iran and the U.S., is being opposed by Iranian conservatives who say the Paris-set French-language film, produced by France’s Memento Films with Gallic financing, is “too French,” according the Fars news agency.

The Past” is about a man who arrives in Paris from Tehran to finalize his divorce from his wife, played by Berenice Bejo, after a four-year separation. Bejo took the actress prize in Cannes for her role in the film.

Farhadi won the Oscar for  foreign-language film in 2011 for “A Separation,” the story of an Iranian couple contending with whether they should leave the country or remain to care for an ailing parent. The nod marked Iran’s first foreign-language film Oscar win.

Iran’s culture ministry boycotted the 2012 Oscars in protest against “Innocence of Muslims” the anti-Islam video that was posted on YouTube and caused mayhem in the region.

Earlier this month, in a clear sign that new, more moderate, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has taken a different tack on cultural issues Iranian film industry org the House of Cinema was reopened after being closed by hardliners for almost two years.

The last date to submit entries for the foreign-language film Academy Awards race is Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Jan. 16 and the ceremony will be held March 2 at the Dolby Theater.

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