Of all the extant versions of the popular Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke American songbook standard “Like Someone In Love,” filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami goes with the Ella Fitzgerald version from 1957, playing the song twice throughout his new film of the same name. As ever, the divine Ella brings a thrillingly immaculate richness of voice to the song, enhanced by Frank De Vol’s lush full-orchestra arrangement surrounding her. In short, it oozes passionate yearning, which, by stark contrast, isn’t the quality one would take away from Kiarostami’s film. If anything, the emphasis in Like Someone In Love is on the “like” rather than on the “love.”
Whereas his last film, Certified Copy, managed an airy quality that elevated his intellectual concerns with authenticity or the lack of it in art and life into something genuinely soulful and sensual, this Japan-set, Japanese-language follow-up reworks those concerns into something just as visually scintillating but ultimately more downbeat. Instead of a quarrelling couple-that-may-or-may-not-actually-be-a-couple, there’s a young college student, Akiko (Rin Takanashi), who, through her side gig as a high-class escort, meets an elderly writer/translator/former college professor, Takashi (Tadashi Okuno). And the scenic Italian countryside of Certified Copy has given way to Tokyo’s chilly, impersonal metropolis.