Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi, who made his name in the industry with the incredible A Seperation, is potentially sitting on the Palme d'Or after his Paris-set tale 'The Past' drew boisterous applause and strong reviews following its screening at the Cannes Film Festival this week. The film boasts The Artist's Berenice Bejo in the lead role as a Parisian mother living in the multicultural suburbs who asks her estranged husband to return from Tehran to finalise their divorce.

In the meantime, Marie invites her new boyfriend - played by Tahar Rahim of the superb A Prophet - to move in with her and her two daughters from another past relationship. Unsurprisingly, her husband returns from Tehran and his arrival upsets the balance of the house. The discussion amongst critics on Twitter appears to suggest that 'The Past' will undoubtedly be amongst the favourites when the awards are handing out by jury president Steven Spielberg on May 26. Bejo was singled out for particular praise for her stunning performance and the actress concedes that he had plenty of offers from Hollywood after The Artist won big at Oscars, choosing instead to work with the one of "the world's best directors" in Farhadi.

Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian wrote of the new movie, "It is an intricate and often brilliant drama, with restrained and intelligent performances; there is an elegantly patterned mosaic of detail, unexpected plot turns, suspenseful twists and revelations." Deborah Young of the Hollywood Reporter was equally enamoured with the movie, writing, "Farhadi's nearly flawless screenplay foregoes the explosive shocks that electrified Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly and drove A Separation on to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar. The Past plays like a low-key adagio in the hands of a masterful pianist, who knows how to give every note it's just nuance and how every single phrase affects all the rest." 

Other movies set to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival include Alexander Payne's Nebraska and the Coen Brothers Inside Llewyn Davis.

Berenice BejoBerenice Bejo [L] with Pauline Burlet [C] and Tahar Rahim [R] At Cannes

Berenice Bejo
Berenice Bejo At The Cannes Film Festival