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The Boston Globe



Abbas Kiarostami considers love in Japan

“Like Someone in Love” is the latest small, perplexing masterpiece from the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who in recent years has chosen the path of a world director. While still based in Iran (where his colleague, Jafar Panahi, makes films illegally and is forbidden to travel abroad), Kiarostami ventured to Tuscany with Juliette Bin­oche for the Pirandellian romance “Certified Copy” (2010) and has now landed in Tokyo with a Japanese cast and script. It turns out that his concerns and talents — his gift for tangled human poetry — are stateless.

The new film is slender, and it plays obliquely with the style of the 20th-century Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu: simple shots of simple people revealing universal truths. But there is more going on in “Like Someone in Love” than it seems initially. A pretty, stressed-out college student named Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is revealed to be moonlighting as a call girl. Her latest client is a retired sociology professor, Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), who may want a dinner companion to ward off loneliness, or who may want more. The meaning is in the gaps the director leaves for us to fill.

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