Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France/Japan, 2012. Centre National du Cinéma et de L’image Animée, , MK2 Productions. Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami. Cinematography by Katsumi Yanagijima. Produced by Abbas Kiarostami. Music by Elise Luguern. Film Editing by Bahman Kiarostami. Cannes Film Festival 2012. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Abbas Kiarostami had such success with his first film outside his native Iran, Certified Copy, that he follows it up with another sojourn to a foreign land, this time visiting Tokyo, Japan. A young girl spends her days as a student and her nights making money as a call girl, which is not easy to do when your jealous fiancé is calling to check up on you on a minute-by-minute basis. When we begin the story she visits the home of a retired professor in the suburbs who gets delight out of her company enough to stay friendly and feel invested in her life after their appointment is over. This is Kiarostami, however, so the proceedings are not as salacious as they sound: it is neither a story about sexual guilt nor is it a foray into dangerous passions, but rather a quiet and thoughtful look at the way people connect under unusual circumstances. Long takes of characters driving make it feel right at home in the director’s oeuvre despite the change of location, and the photography of neon-lit Tokyo is beautiful.