Director Abbas Kiarostami, a massively important filmmaker in his native Iran came to international recognition with such works as ‘Taste of Cherry (1977) and ‘The Wind Will Carry Us’ (1999) getting praise from Godard to Scorsese. His last film ‘Certified Copy was set in France and now he has set his latest film in Japan.
The filmmaker is interested, as ever, in shape-shifting roles, surfaces and relationships. Young Akiko (Rin Takanashi), a student/escort living and working in Tokyo is living a deception from her boyfriend, while old professor Takashi's (Tadashi Okuno) life story told through carefully placed family photos and artworks. Over the course of a little less than 24 hours, Akiko and Takashi begin to develop a bond.
Kiarostami gets the audience stuck into each scene’s editing rhythms that become very natural and since every sequence more or less flows naturally into the next one, this feels smooth and compelling. There is definitely a sense of eavesdropping into a segment of people’s lives, and we are privileged to witness such dynamics.
There is another side to the film however, with a definite unease throughout – something just about to happen yet unresolved. The picture feels almost hypnotic, allowing the viewer time to ponder over the situation, in what is a contemplative piece of cinema.
The picture is beautifully shot too, with some interesting framing decisions making for a hugely memorable production.