Abbas Kiarostami, Like Someone In Love

This is a reprint of our interview with Abbas Kiarostami from the New York Film Festival in October 2012. "Like Somone In Love" opens in limited release on February 15th.

Perennial Iranian director/legend Abbas Kiarostami’s second filmmaking-holiday (the first being the wonderful “Certified Copy”) finds him in Japan, observing two days in the life of an unlikely trio: a student moonlighting as a call girl, her aged, patriarchal client, and the woman’s hot-head boyfriend. “Like Someone In Love” contains many of the auteur’s persistent fascinations -- long car rides, lengthy conversation, numerous off camera actions and characters, leisurely pacing -- but has the unfortunate position of coming directly after a very unique, wonderful piece of cinema. Reactions have been quite mixed since its first festival appearance early this year (our man at Cannes was not as impressed, while this writer thought it was lovely) but most can agree that it’s a visually stunning film with plenty of substance to ruminate on.

In town to promote his new film at the New York Film Festival, we've compiled our interview with the director along with some notable moments at the NYFF press conference, including what he’s up to next and an amusing story about his elderly lead. “Like Someone In Love” rolls into theaters next year courtesy of IFC Films.

Since your working environments have changed, have you also changed the process of gathering inspiration?
In the process of filmmaking it's the other way around, you start having ideas and they shape the environment you create even when you’re in a different country, culture, and language. It's not very different from working at home. Maybe retrospectively once the films are made I can look back and wonder if working in different countries had a special impact on my evolution as a film director.

But after working in your home country for so long, how do you see your new work? Is it liberating in any way to be doing projects in new places?
I do feel a difference when the films are screened. When I watch the Iranian movies with an audience, they make me feel very anxious during the screening. I feel responsible for every single detail in the film, the people, the characters, the story, even the street I show. When I see the last two films I’ve made I'm much more detached because I feel like I'm a guest director or guest author, that I'm only partly responsible for it. The characters have their own lives and truths beyond my responsibility. I'm only part of it. I feel that maybe even the audience is closer to it than myself.

That’s a bit melancholic.
It's a feeling that has nothing to do with cinema because cinema is universal and that's the point of going and working elsewhere, showing that it's not related to local identities, cultures and languages.