You probably saw 2011's A Separation. It won the Best Foreign Language Oscar and it was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay that year. It was one of my top five films of 2011 and it was stellar, so I am assuming that you saw it.
And so now I need to report that The Past (Le Passé) is completely on par with A Separation. This domestic drama is rooted in things that have happened before the film begins. As viewers we can only put the past together without ever totally understanding it. Farhadi's is a film about the past that doesn't contain any flashbacks. And this is one of the things The Past has to say: you can't figure it out. It's gone and what you thought you knew about it you're probably misremembering.
The Past is about all sorts of things, actually. In lots of ways it is also about how spaces contain us, change us, maybe drive us crazy. And it is also about trying to fix things that don't work, and how sometimes it is better not to try to fix what's broken.
The performances are excellent. Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim, and Sabrina Ouazani are all amazing.
But The Past has not been shortlisted as a finalist for this year's Foreign Language Oscar despite being Iran's official submission. It is a glaring and strange omission that might mean that very few people see The Past. This would be a mistake. This film is one of the best of the year in any language.