‘The Past’ Director Asghar Farhadi at the Variety Studio: Cannes Edition

Helmer-scribe Asghar Farhadi chats with Raya Abirached (MBC’s “Scoop With Raya”) about “The Past,” his follow-up to 2011’s Oscar winner “A Separation.”

The film, which follows an Iranian man who abandons his family to return to his homeland, touches upon themes of melancholy romanticism, a prevalent  topic in Farhadi’s work.

“That is the atmosphere in which I anchor my films…This way I can ask the questions which are real and personal,” the filmmaker admitted in the Studio. “Originally this story started with a personal memory that a friend told me about. Something similar happened to him.”

The filmmaker does not see the pic as a clash between cultures, but rather as a film that highlights common points of culture so that both audiences can easily relate. Influences of other filmmakers have come into play when it came to creating his style. At Cannes, the star-studded jury that includes Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee didn’t intimidate the helmer.

“I fee like I have always known them because I know their films…As a child, even before going to university and studying theater, when I used to make short films, I was inspired by Iranian filmmakers. But then I went to university, I became more familiar with people who did influence me, like Fellini,” said Farhadi. “All I hope is that when they see the film, they enjoy it, but more specifically, just before they fall asleep at night, they reflect on the issues that are suggested by the film.”