One of the most fascinating auteurs at work today, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami should be reason enough to prevent the US from ever bombing Teheran. After a remarkable run in his place of birth that included minimalist masterpieces Taste of Cherry and The Wind will Carry Us, Kiarostami not only ventured outside his zone of comfort, but also his native tongue and his country. The results couldn’t be any less than striking.
The Iranian wunderkind takes pleasure in destroying westerners’ notion of narrative. In the remarkable Certified Copy, an artistically inclined couple starts the day as strangers and by the end of it, they have been married for fifteen years, no explanation provided. Like Someone in Love is similarly packed with blind spots and remains fascinating.
Two lost souls in Tokio find each other at a low point. Young Akiko has landed in the prostitution business in order to pay for school. Grandma is waiting for her at the train station, but an utterly ashamed Akiko can’t bring herself to meet her (it’s painful to watch). Across the city, the elderly professor who has hired the girl mostly for company has problems of his own: He must fend a demanding would-be employer while keeping things polite.
They could be the answer to each other’s problems, but -as in real life- there is no such thing as a perfect match, especially when a third party (Akiko’s violent boyfriend) objects any possible arrangement.
Despite the sexual undertones, Like Someone in Love is a lot more wholesome than it sounds. These are lonely people who yearn for human connection but have forgotten how to establish one. Kiarostami pulls a fast one on the audience by holding on to most answers. He makes you work for them, which is why his movies become engraved in your memory.
Four prairie dogs out of their element.