Like Someone in Love

Following Certified Copy, which was taking place in Italy, the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is now using Japan as a setting. Telling the story of a young escort girl, harassed by her jealous boyfriend, Like Someone in Love – the title is a reference to a jazz song – is fully in line with Mr. Kiarostami’s body of work. For the most part, the film takes place inside cars, a fertile environment which is in constant motion.

Asked by her boss to go to visit a client around Tokyo, Akiko resists. Her grandmother came to see her for a day and is waiting for her at the train station. She leaves her several heartbreaking phone messages, hoping to take her away from this world. But the young woman will only get the chance to see her grandma from a taxi that takes her against her will. This is one of the cruelest scenes of this film, but also one of the strangest.

Time seems to move at its own pace. The taxi ride, which is supposed to last an hour, stretches over a very suggestive period of time. Using reflections and overprints, the remarkable opening scene in a club, seems to corroborate the feeling you are watching a mental movie. The art of Kiarostami is expressed brilliantly. Using drastically shot-reverse shots and combining voice and discussions that can’t be clearly attributed to specific characters, the opening sequence showcases a taste for mastery and experimentation .

The least we can say is that the film always takes us in unexpected directions, whether it’s in terms of storyline or format. An old and harmless sociology professor ends up being Akiko’s client. More interested in having company than enjoying a young woman’s sexual favors, the old man ties a filial relationship with her. He will even pretend to be a grandfather when her boyfriend arrives. But the inexorable violence is already underway.

With a staggering precision, Like Someone in Love renews Mr. Kiarostami’s usual approach. Whenever he explores a new territory, he grabs the chance to adapt his work to unfamiliar environments while injecting grace in the process, as the brutal and intimidating ending will attest. This shows how audacious the filmmaker becomes, sequence after sequence, anticipating more exciting films to come.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami – Actors: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno – Running time: 1:49 – Year: 2012 – Country: Japan

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Sandrine Marques

Sandrine Marques

Sandrine is a French freelance journalist who lives in Paris and writes passionnally about cinema.
Sandrine Marques

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