Day fifty-five: Like Someone in Love (May, 3)

Since the outstanding Certified Copy, 2010, the Iranian cineast Abbas Kiarostami has been on my radar, as to say. I've not seen many of his productions, something that I'll try to rectify during this year, but the ones I've watched have been grateful surprises. 

While surfing some cable channels on TV, I saw his most recent film, Like Someone in Love. I started to watch it with high expectations. I wasn't disappointed, even if a bit shaken at the end. 

The thing is, this movie is more about the ways how one can tell a story than the story itself - we must remember that Kiarostami is also a teacher, and his movies present some relevant aspects of the filmmaking. In this particular one, many diegetic elements - everything related to the fictional world presented in the narrative - are left unexplained. We are used to create by ourselves some of the things that happen in a story, but are not showed: someone, for example, speaks on the phone, schedules a meeting and, next, we see the same person on the car going to this meeting. We don't need the entire journey from home to the car to know what happened there - it is part of our education in the images of cinema. 

Kiarostami subverts this classic narrative system, and tells the history of a "young sex worker" (according to imdb.com), her boyfriend and her client, an old professor, letting all the unseen action unexplained. 

The pace of this movie is incredibly good. 

It is genious from the first scene. We hear Akiko's voice at the phone, but we are not able to see her. The camera tries to reach her grandma, waiting near a statue, but neither us or Akiko can see her clearly. All the meaning relies not only on the characters' expressions and dialogues, but in something that we'll never be able to indentify. The sounds are so lively, it is almost as we are living it. the  cars's scenes (a Kiarostami's trademark) take us in the passanger seat. The characters are so well presented. And with that a story is told in a peculiar way, even in the ever surprising cinema. 

A teacher at college said once that the framing is a matter of choice. A choice between what include in the frame end what to let out. Our focus is usually in what is framed by both the camera and the story. But Kiarostami calls our attention all the time to what we cannot see, but is part of his tale. Curious is that the close-up as a filmmaking technique since the cinema's first days has been highlighted as a way to show things that the viewer couldn't see ordinarilly. Kiarostami presents a lot of close-ups of his characters in this film, but makes almost the opposite while telling his story. We cannot see a lot of things, and maybe because of that we can concentrate in what really matters there.

So we reach the end in a shock. Things that we are not able to understand seem a lot unexpected, but the sense of seeing something extraordinary was with me during the whole movie. While trying to make sense of what just had happened, I realized that element was not the protagonist, but the way how it was told. Two almost opposite men want something from the same girl, apart from what she herself wants. That could be a good summary of this story. But Like Someone in Love goes so far beyond the plot that it could not even be there actually. The way he tells it is what built the story and the characters, in the diegetic Japanese world told by a Iranian director and professor that lives in Paris and see the world in a beautifully peculiar way.

Like Someone in Love. Directed and written by Abbas Kiarostami. With:
Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Ryô Kase. France/Japan, 2012, 109 min.
Dolby Digital, Color (Cable TV).

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