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September 22, 2010

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Adrian Curry

I hadn't thought this at the time, but the way the two lead characters suddenly morph into other people, or alternative versions of themselves, without explanation, is very Mulholland Drive, is it not?

haice

This new turn from Kiarostami sounds interesting.
WHERE IS MY FRIEND'S HOME is one film that has haunted me for years. I still think about that boy trying to find his friend and return that damn notebook in a strange village as it becomes later and later and darker and darker. Who would have thought?

Chris O.

I pledge allegiance to see this film for the United Film Dweeb Nation, and to the Criterions, the Sirkians and Bergman, one Dweeb Nation, under Godard, with libations and hummus for all.

BINOCHE FEET POWER!

Lance McCallion

I envy being able to see with this and Boonmee in the same day. Lucky critic.

Jaime

Adrian, I'm glad I'm not the only one whose radar detected the possibility that AK was making a metaphysical horror film a la MULHOLLAND. The one that came to me......**only** came to me as a slight hint when they began on their journey by car, and my mind decided to playback Kim Novak saying "Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere." It wasn't until hours into my review that I began to wonder, in earnest, whether it was valid to cite VERTIGO along with the Rossellini, Antonioni, and Resnais films that are most commonly being brought up. And I think it kinda is.

(Richard Porton named BRINGING UP BABY - I think I see what he means but I'm not putting any money on it.)

As with MARIENBAD, and perhaps more towards the prosaic-travelogue side of the fence (in a good way - a great way!), it seemed to me that CC permits the viewer to absorb it on multiple levels, **all at once**. As a "trick film," as a legitimate romance that has been commandeered by two master game-players. (Or three, arguably, in MARIENBAD's case.)

All that territory having been staked out, in spite of what a curveball AK seems to have made, it's his film through and through: the tourism aspect, the (self-)critique of the male gaze, the celebration of Woman, etc. And, yeah, the abra-cadabra shit, too. I mean (as Glenn points out) the guy made CLOSE-UP. He's an old hand.

Kevyn Knox

Kiarostami in top form again (and his form wasn't all that shaky in the first place) this film and its duality are more than perplexing and more than hypnotic. Binoche is (of course) a wonder to behold, but the way Kiarostami (the old hand you say he is) manipulates the viewers is a sheer deeeelight to behold. One stops trying to figure out what is real and what is not (copy v. original of course) and just sits back and enjoys the ride for what it is - and what a great ride it is. No questions need answered, just watch.

And Glenn, when you finished yr review with "Seeing this and Uncle Boonmee the same afternoon put me, and a bunch of my fellow NYFF press screening attendees, into a cinephilic swoon we'll be luxuriating in for some time." it could not have been put any better.

lazarus

Speaking of Ruiz, Glenn, I hope you're planning on checking out (and reviewing) Mysteries of Lisbon.

REALLY looking forward to that one.

Nicolas Leblanc

Glenn : You saw quite possibly the two best films of 2010 back to back. You live a charmed life.

"I don't think that's what's happening, at all. I think the ostensible objective reality of the movie is constantly shifting and mutating, in accordance with the theme of originality and authenticity that James' work is all about."

Indeed. And thus AK acknowledges that what we watch is not a realistic "slice of life". As Jaime pointed out it can be taken as a legitimate romance even though it's clearly more complex than that (try to imagine walking in late on the film or walking out early, what would have been your experience, then?) There's also another distinction between real and fake that the shift creates : we're now clearly witnessing an artificial construction, a fake. And there's a third level : the hommages that are peppered throughout the film (you mention Antonioni and Rosselini, I think I saw some Ozu as well), as a form of copy.

Finally, a word on Shimell : much as been made of Binoche, but he has two great moments of acting and both are silent. First there's his body language during the shift of the movie, where he seems as puzzled as the audience. Then there's the final close-up, which could be interpreted at least two ways.

Chris O.

Not just CLOSE-UP, but that fact/fiction/what-we-watch-is-not-a-realistic-"slice of life" motif is evoked in the coda of TASTE OF CHERRY as well (speaking of Surrealists, it's also there in Magritte's famous "Ceci n'est pas une pipe.")

Kevyn Knox

My question remains (though I suppose the answer doesn't really matter, but hey, what the Hell!?) are these two really a couple (or ex-couple) who have been playing a game the entire time? He talks about shaving every other day near the end, yet he would have never heard her say that statement earlier, so is that a reality of the past together? I know, I know, it doesn't matter. Yada yada.

Glenn Kenny

Well, Kevin, thanks for answering your own question, AND for throwing me in with the "Yada yada" crowd, despite the fact that just now is the very first time I've ever input that particular group of letters in that order into a text!

But seriously folks: I DON'T know the answer to that question, but it's not that I don't "care" or that it doesn't "matter" so much that I'm not sure it's the right question, as it were. Which doesn't necessarily mean it ought to be dismissed. Certainly the final shot leaves room for some consideration of the "reality" of what has gone before. But the wild disparities and mood swings of the characters' interactions eventually began to make me believe that it was the film and its reality that were changing, not them, as it were. And while James had not heard the conversation Binoche had with the cafe owner, the issue of shaving—particularly with respect to his maybe bending his every-other-day rule on account of their "anniversary"—does come up between them.

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