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Like Someone in Love

Abbas Kiarostami’s latest is both symptomatic of his fascination with cinematic syntax and his regular forays into uncharted territory.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

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  • Director-Screenwriter Abbas Kiarostami
  • Producer Marin Karmitz, Kenzo Horikoshi
  • With Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Ryo Kase
  • France-Japan 2012
  • 109 mins
  • UK distribution New Wave Films

Right from the mischievous, provocative play with point-of-view and sound in the opening nightclub scene, the Iranian maestro’s latest is both symptomatic of his fascination with cinematic syntax and one of his regular forays into uncharted territory. If it’s his first film made in Tokyo (and Japanese), the subject matter’s also new. A student and bar-hostess having trouble with money, exams, her grandmother and boyfriend is persuaded by her boss to visit an elderly man of some importance; she assumes he’ll expect sex – but, this being a Kiarostami film, things aren’t that simple. Consistently engrossing, this delicate account of a brief, maybe fateful encounter is ambiguous throughout, even as it touches on a range of themes to do with relationships and age, truth and falsehood, adversity and acceptance. Though the performances, mostly by first-timers, are terrific, it’s the sly script and bold but elegant direction that remain most memorably impressive.
Geoff Andrew

Director statement

When I was writing the script I wasn’t thinking about a title. But then came this scene where the stone breaks the window. All of a sudden I wrote ‘The End’, in English, and the version of ‘The End' that came to my mind was that of the title at the end of classic black-&-white American films, even down to the font... When I started searching for music for the moment the girl enters the old man's apartment, it came naturally that as someone from my generation, he would listen to jazz. The first album I took off my shelf was Ella Fitzgerald and I just bumped into this song, ‘Like Someone in Love’, which I thought was a nicer title. Once I shot the actual ending I thought ‘The End’ might lead to some misunderstanding, as if I meant that the character died. The phrase itself sounds good to me, too. There is nothing determined and definitive about love. It's better to say that we are like someone in love rather than asserting that we are in love. Death or birth are definitive; love is nothing but an illusion. We have in this film four people who are like some people in love. [...] I’m sure that we can never be the witness of a story from its beginning to its end. I would say that this film doesn’t have an adequate opening and it doesn’t have a real ending either, but it also proves my idea that all films start before we get into them and they end after we leave them... I don't mean to create a distance from the spectator; I want to remind them that they should have the same inquiring spirit for films as in life. If you’re curious you will definitely find enough information – you don't need more, and whenever we’re given more, we don't accept it. A good example is pornographic films, which give us too much. That’s not the way it is in real life: it goes against emotions, feelings, sex even. Too much information is a kind of pornography.
Abbas Kiarostami

Director biography

Born in 1940 in Tehran, he started his cinematographic career in 1960 designing credits and directing advertisements. In 1969, with a friend, he founded the Cinematographic Department of the Institute for Children and Young Adults’ Intellectual Development that, over the course of the years, has produced a significant number of high quality Iranian movies. By the end of the 1980s he’d obtained well-deserved international recognition, going on to win awards including Cannes’ Palme d’Or in 1997 (for Taste of Cherry) and at Venice in 1999 (for The Wind Will Carry Us). With Certified Copy, he started shooting outside Iran with an international cast, and now Like Someone In Love finds him in Japan, another universe for him to discover.


1970 Nān o Kūcheh (The Bread and Alley) [s]
1972 Zang-e Tafrīh (Breaktime) [s]
1973 Tajrobe (The Experience)
1974 Mosāfer (The Traveller)
1975 Man ham Mitounam (So Can I) [s]; Dow Rahehal Baraye yek Massaleh (Two Solutions for One Problem) [s]
1976 Rang-ha (Colours) [doc s]; Lebāsī Barā-ye Arūsī (A Wedding Suit)
1977 Az Oghat-e Faraghat-e Khod Chegouneh Estefadeh Konim? (How to Make Use of Leisure Time?) [doc s]; Gozāresh (The Report); Bozorgdasht-e mo'Allem (Tribute to the Teachers) [doc s]
1978 Rah-e Hal (The Solution) [s]
1979 Qazieh, Shekl-e Avval, Shekl-e Dovom (First Case, Second Case)
1980 Behdasht-e Dandan (Dental Hygiene) [s]
1981 Be Tartib Ya Bedun-e Tartib (Orderly or Disorderly) [s]
1982 Hamsarayan‎ (The Chorus) [s]
1983 Hamshahri (Fellow Citizen) [doc]; Dandan Dard (Toothache) [s]
1984 Avaliha [doc]
1987 Khane-ye doust kodjast? (Where Is the Friend’s Home?)
1989 Mashgh-e Shab (Homework) [doc]
1990 Nema-ye Nazdik (Close-Up)
1991 Zendegi va digar hich (Life, and Nothing More...)
1994 Zire darakhatan zeyton (Through the Olive Trees)
1995 A propos de Nice: la suite [ep Reperages only]
1996 Lumière et compagnie [ep Dinner for One only]
1997 The Birth of Light [s]; Ta'm-e gīlās (Taste of Cherry)
1999 Bād mā rā khāhad bord (The Wind Will Carry Us)
2001 ABC Africa [doc]
2002 Dah (Ten)
2002 Panj (Five) [doc]
2004 Ten Minutes Older [s]
2004 10 on Ten [doc]
2005 The Roads of Kiarostami [doc s]; Tickets [one ep only]
2007 Kojast jay residan [doc s] Chacun son cinéma [ep Where Is My Romeo? only]
2008 Shirin
2010 Copie conforme (Certified Copy); No [doc s]
2012 Like Someone in Love

Read the Time Out review.

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