The Past

Two of the brightest foreign stars of 2011 have joined forces for a new movie in 2013. The Past teams Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director behind the brilliant domestic drama A Separation, with Bérénice Bejo, best known in the U.S. as the sweet-faced ingenue from The Artist. Given that pedigree, it’s not surprising that there’s Oscar buzz surrounding the project already; Iran has submitted The Past as its foreign-language entry in this year’s Oscar race.

At the center of the drama is Marie (Bejo), a French woman who asks her estranged Iranian husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) for a divorce so that she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (A Prophet‘s Tahar Rahim). Once Ahmad arrives in Paris, however, secrets about the family come to light. See the new trailer from Sony Classics after the jump.

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The last film from Asghar Farhadi, A Separation, was a powerful drama that swept awards around the world and was one of the most impressive films of 2011. His new film, The Past, is premiering In Competition at Cannes next month, and now we’ve for the first English-subbed trailer. Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) and Ali Mosaffa (The Last Step) feature in the story that follows a different bit of domestic strife, as an Iranian man (Mossaffa) deals with the fallout of divorcing his French wife (Bejo) in order to return to Iran.

Like A Separation, this looks like serious stuff, but well-acted and written and directed with an eye for the sort of details that make the story powerful without feeling artificial. Check out the footage below. Read More »

Rising French stars Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) are set to lead Grand Central, a France-set contemporary romantic drama by Rebecca Zlotowski. Rahim will play a danger-addicted man whose nuclear facility job exposes him to deadly radiation levels. He’s transformed by a forbidden affair with a woman he meets at the plant (Seydoux).

Grand Central marks a reunion for Seydoux and Zlotowski, who previously worked together in Zlotowski’s directorial debut Belle Épine. Seydoux was also recently cast in Michel Gondry’s The Foam of the Days, and will next appear opposite Diane Kruger in March’s Farewell, My Queen. Rahim starred last year in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Black Gold, and has just wrapped Joachim Lafosse’s Loving Without Reason. Grand Central is expected to begin filming this summer. [Variety]

After the jump, Riddick adds to its cast and Sex Bob-omb frontman Stephen Stills boards an indie.

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‘Black Gold’ Trailer

We don’t know a whole lot about Black Gold, the new film from Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet, Two Brothers). It stars Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, and Tahar Rahim, the lead of A Prophet. The film was shot on location in the Sahara, with a script based on the book South of the Heart: A Novel of Modern Arabia, by Hans Ruesch, which has also been released under the simple paperback title Arab.

A French trailer for the film has come online, however, and it will make clear many things about the film. You’ll see, for example, why it is already being painted as Lawrence of Arabia meets There Will Be Blood.

Check the trailer below. Read More »

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It’s difficult to say whether Black Gold, which seeks to tell a tale of rival Arabic rulers during the Arab oil boom of the 1930s, will be any good. But the film, which will be directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet) has an interesting cast: Antonio Banderas toplines, with Mark Strong, Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), and Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) all lined up to appear. Read More »

rahim-kusturica

This is one of those articles that seems like pushing a rock uphill — possibly unfamiliar names in the title, a movie that we don’t have much info on, etc. Why should you care about Cool Water? For one, because the newly cast Tahar Rahim is amazing in Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet. And because Emir Kusturica can be a great director, and much of his recent output has been hard to find. He’s got that Pancho Villa movie brewing with Johnny Depp, but in the meantime Cool Water sounds like the Kusturica film I’m really going to want to see. Read More »

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If a male filmmaker desires to throw up grim truth and reality before the eyes of moviegoers and also swoon critics, many of whom subsist on darker themes, he will at some point consider making a film about war or prison. There are no greater immediate settings for tapping perennial sentiments of a mad world, or for demystifying masculinity by scraping it and reducing it to a primal essence. Unlike the ambitious gangster or mob film, reputable prison dramas tend to feature a protagonist that is closer to us, a person thrown to hell rather than embodying it, nakedly amidst wolves as opposed to running with them. (Ironic, given these characters’ punishments at the hands of society and/or government.)

Engrossing and well-crafted but formulaic and borderline genre-fare, A Prophet is the latest prison film to follow this mold and punch its way creatively outward. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, A Prophet has landed on a number of top 10 lists for 2009; with a domestic release forthcoming, we’ll likely see its inclusion on many of this year’s as well.

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