French art gallery owner pretends to be a long time wife of a man she has just met. Set in Tuscany, she leads him to the village of Lucignano.
Impeccably photographed, philosophically provocative and mischievously rom-comic, Abbas Kiarostami’s non-Iranian bow is a simmering pastiche of bickering couple pictures from Roberto Rossellini’s Voyage To Italy to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset. Using mirrors and shifts of perspective to ensure that nothing is as it seems, Kiarostami sends English academic William Shimell and French antique dealer Juliette Binoche on a Sunday odyssey to the Tuscan hilltown of Lucignano, where they debate originality, authenticity and value while keeping the audience (and themselves) guessing about the nature of their relationship. The dialogue is a touch ripe in places, but the leads respond splendidly to Kiarostami’s playful mockery of the clichés sustaining both arthouse and mainstream film. A cineaste’s delight.
An exceptional film that plays with what is real and what is imagination. While exploring language and communication, this drama is both funny and intense.