Spaces in the heart in Like Someone in Love | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Spaces in the heart in Like Someone in Love

A Tokyo college student turns tricks for cash in Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film.



The critical shorthand for a film like this is "tragicomic," but more precisely one might say that Iranian writer-director Abbas Kiarostami indulges in comic complications that invariably pay off in melancholy. A Tokyo college student moonlighting as a hooker (Rin Takanashi) is browbeaten by her pimp into meeting an old friend of his out of town; there's a heartrending sequence, set in her moving cab, in which she listens to a series of increasingly plaintive phone messages from her sweet grandmother, who's visiting Tokyo for the day, and then passes by the old woman as she waits alone under a statue in a public square. This cruel moment underlines everything that follows, as the woman meets her john, an elderly scholar (Tadashi Okuno), and tries to keep her private and professional lives from colliding. Kiarostami is masterful in his layering of space, using glass walls, mirrors, and, in one instance, the aligned side windows of parked cars to suggest a world of divisions, both between people and within them. In Japanese with subtitles.

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