Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
France & Italy, 2010
Cornerhouse, 19 September 2010
A film that, sad to say, never really flares into life.
There is a terrific scene in a café when Juliette Binoche and the Italian proprietress become embroiled in a discussion about men, or rather husbands. Binoche adding rouge to her lips and changing her mind about which earrings to wear makes for another very watchable few moments. But that’s about it; slender pickings for a film with a running time of 106 minutes.
It meanders, although not in a wondrous or delightful way; rather in an interminable, ‘get to the point, if there is one’ kind of a way.
The two leads, Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, are on-screen for virtually ninety percent of the time but, truth to tell, their characters – she an antique dealer, he a middlebrow writer on a promo tour – are not really that interesting. Also, there is an absence of peril and emotional risk: contra the superb Winter’s Bone. If the two decide to fuck or have an affair, well, so what? They will continue to lead comfortable, perhaps slightly melancholic lives.
We are granted an abrupt, open-ended final scene (will they or won’t they?). Mercifully, it ends. That is enough.