thu 23/05/2019

DVD: Like Someone in Love | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Like Someone in Love

DVD: Like Someone in Love

Urban Japan is the perfect setting for Abbas Kiarostami’s oblique mastery

Rin Takanashi as lost girl Akiko

We’re in a Tokyo bar. As the first of two fixed cameras dominating the opening quarter of an hour gives a selective picture, a girl’s voice is heard offscreen remonstrating on her mobile with a pathologically jealous fiancé. The situation comes slowly into focus: the girl, Akiko (Rin Takanashi), is being compelled as a top-end call-girl to visit a client. Though some of the trajectory is what we think, or fear, it might be, many of the outcomes are far from expected.

A scene from Kiarostami's Like Someone in LoveThe symmetry is as carefully observed as everything else in this piece of genius filmmaking. There are only three main indoor locations – the bar, an apartment, a garage workshop – and between them a taxi and a car ply their way through the city streets, the first by night, the second by day. Shades here of Kiarostami’s Teheran-set masterpiece Ten – and the director asks no less of his actors, supporting roles included. The three leads are superlative: Takanashi is hypnotically various as a lost girl, Ryo Kase wins some surprise sympathy as her insecure boyfriend and – best of all – Tadashi Okuno moves between befuddled emotional need and the wisdom of old age as the lynchpin, Professor Watanabe (pictured above on the left with Takanashi and Kase).

Grandparents real and created are part of the illusions shared by the young urban folk, whose precarious lifestyle is counterpointed with the cultured existence of the elderly academic. Mobile phones versus an ancient answering machine, a copy of Chiyoji Yazaki’s groundbreaking 1900 painting Training a Parrot against a tacky advertisement: these are some of the objects in the carefully established and beautifully filmed drama of shifting relations. Crucial details are omitted, leaving us to fill in gaps in the story. To tell more would be to ruin the pleasure of the surprises that spring from a sly, leisurely but never too slow-moving narrative. The title is a song recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, with “like” the telling word. Within its self-imposed parameters, sheer perfection.  

Like Someone in Love on Amazon

The symmetry is as carefully observed as everything else in this piece of genius filmmaking

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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