Kiarostami in Tokyo

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Like Someone in Love has all of Kiarostami’s usual preoccupations: the passage of time, the mystery and contingency of human intercourse, the shadow of death, the illusions of love, the intimacy of being isolated from the world in a moving vehicle. But the setting in Japan does not feel arbitrary; it has a point. Tokyo, the ultimate modern metropolis, with its neon-lit commercial graffiti and buildings that look like a pastiche of everywhere and nowhere, is perfect for Kiarostami’s story of closeness between strangers. To most foreign visitors, Tokyo looks uncannily familiar and yet deeply strange. Kiarostami is a stranger in Tokyo, but his depiction of the city is extraordinarily intimate and delicate. Kiarostami’s idea for the film began with an image. Driving in a taxi through the raffish entertainment district of Roppongi, he filmed an elderly lady standing on a street corner.

more from Ian Buruma at the NYRB here.

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