Like Someone in Love
Abbas Kiarostami, France, Japan, 2012o
The student Akiko works as a call girl in Tokyo and is ordered to visit an old professor, who seems less interested in paid sex than in conversation and Akiko's resemblance to his deceased wife. The following day, the two are confronted with Akiko's jealous boyfriend and become entangled in a web of subterfuge.
The last feature film by the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016) was made in Japan and is one of his strongest, perhaps even his most sophisticated. It is about a student in Tokyo who works as a call girl and is summoned home one evening by a widowed professor in his eighties. The student actually wants to get out of her disreputable sideline because her jealous boyfriend, a simple garage owner, has smelled fuses; the old man also seems neither familiar nor comfortable with the situation. From this constellation, Kiarostami develops an enchanting web of ambivalent feelings, in which the omissions and allusions are far more important than what is said and shown. The cast is also flawless, the settings, the colour scheme and the spatial staging are ravishing, contributing more to the clarification of feelings than anything that is said. Great cinema of small gestures in a small space, outwardly sparse, which is precisely why it is so rich in meaning.Andreas Furler