This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Aaron’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Film #2 for the Abbas Kiarostami leg of my Five by Five, Vol. 1 challenge.
This was just... wow. Powerful, poetic, deep, all that. It takes ideas from a broad range of films, too: I was thinking it was sort of like a blend of F for Fake and maybe Contempt, with the "travelogue"-ish visual/setting components of La grande bellezza and Call Me by Your Name.
From what I can tell Kiarostami has a tendency to be sort of evasive with the meanings/interpretations of his films, and this is a great example of that.
— Spoilers ahead —
My interpretation is that it's a meta-film: just like how James refers to the Mona Lisa as a copy (the original being the woman who posed for it), the film is a copy of a "real" situation (which is also fake, according to something Kiarostami said about his inspiration for the film). This theory would explain the cinematography style of the film: much of the dialogue was shot on exactly 180º back-and-forth shots, so the actors were often looking head-on, as if directly into the camera, speaking to us. It felt like the film spoke to me, anyway.
Note: I think this might have been my first Juliette Binoche film. I'm in love. And it was William Shimell's first-ever appearance in a feature film. Very impressive.
Adding to my 2010 Top 10 list.