Published Apr 11, 2013After making Certified Copy, which, amidst a litany of themes – most of which were established even earlier in Abbas Kiarostami's film career – focused on the nature of copies, translations and what's lost in that process of communication, his decision to film his follow-up work, Like Someone in Love, with Japanese actors is somewhat suspect.
It's as though he is again making a copy of a copy, varying it enough to keep it interesting, but saying something about his original position on communication within a different cultural context, focusing on a slightly different aspect.
Here, translation, interruption, conversation mediums and the nature of swaying desire or opinion divide and connect Tokyo call girl and student Akiko (Rin Takanashi) and her elderly professor client, Takashi (Tadashi Okuno). Initially reluctant to take this escort gig from her ersatz pimp, Akiko's imbalanced relationship with her hot-tempered boyfriend (Ryo Case) speaks to the nature of power and persuasion in discussion: whoever loves the other party the most will always give in.
Amidst Akiko's conversations with her boyfriend, her pimp and Takashi, constant interruptions and misinterpretations arise. It's not an accident that phones keep ringing or that a large portion of the film takes place in a car, since the (copied) message is that of distraction and minutiae disrupting connection.
Even as the story moves slowly towards its dramatic climax, wherein the possibility arises of Akiko's boyfriend finding out her side gig after meeting her client, Takashi, there's a sense that the minor conversations, petty grievances and even Takashi's inability and reluctance to correctly translate a text for work are far more important than the actual outcome of the film.
While cleverly structured and riddled with an abundance of thematic complexities that inspire thought, there's something colder and less observant about Like Somebody in Love than some of his earlier works. It also isn't offering anything overly distinct thematically, suggesting that it may very well be a self-conscious Japanese translation of Kiarostami's existing ideology. (Films We Like)