Saturday 24 November 2012

Like Someone in Love [2012]

Abbas Kiarostami, arguably the most towering figure to have emerged out of the Iranian New Wave, provided a string of sharp yet subtle observations on the idiosyncrasies, absurdities and ironies that mark human interactions, in this delightful dramedy. Like Someone in Love, his second feature film made outside Iran due to political reasons, is set in the city of Tokyo. Made in the form of distinct acts in the tradition of stage-plays, it was about the darkly comic ménage à trois between Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), an ageing, pleasant-natured, and lonely professor, Akiko (Rin Takanashi), a pretty and spunky young girl working as an escort in order to fund her education, and Noriaki (Ryo Kase), her hot-headed and puritanical boyfriend who is unaware of her profession. Akiko, sad over not being able to meet his grandmother (the scene where she silently sits in a taxi watching her loving grandmother waiting and hoping to meet her, was really melancholic), is wary of any emotional commitment; Takashi, despite his uncomfortable but failed attempts to win Akiko, finds himself developing platonic feelings for her; and the loquacious and perennially suspicious Noriaki, mistakenly starts thinking Takashi to be Akiko’s grandfather and starts pestering him for her hands. The quirky and whimsical film, elegantly shot and paced – the night sequences were particularly luscious and memorable – was filled with both underhanded humour and understated poignancy. Very well enacted and brilliantly written, the film’s sudden and open-ended climax, however, might leave some scratching their heads, though I personally loved the cheeky playfulness and the resultant fodder for thought.

p.s. Watched this as part of 2012 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF) - and this rounds up my modest coverage of the event.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan


Sam Juliano said...

Sounds like a most memorable Festival, Shubhajit! I agree with your definitive regard for Kiarostami, and certainly look forward to seeing this film! Wow, your concise pieces beautifully sizes up the virtues and then some. This is the first I've read of the film, and I will certainly return to it after I see it.

Shubhajit said...

Yes, the first half of the fest, for me, was decent at best. But, by the time I'd watched my last film in the fest (which happened to be Kiarostami's latest work), I must agree I was quite satisfied with what the film fest had turned out for me, despite having watched only 10 films during the event. And yes, this film is certainly recommended - do watch it as soon as you can.