At first glance, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s first European film appears to be a fluffy confection about a spirited French woman (Juliette Binoche) who meets an uptight British author in pastoral Tuscany. But romantic travelogue quickly gives way to philosophical treatise. Binoche, who received the Best Actress prize in Cannes for her role, may be more entrancing than ever, but the real titillation comes from Kiarostami’s script. Within the characters’ witty repartee, the celebrated filmmaker (Taste of Cherry) continues a career-long fascination with questions about the nature of truth, communication, and the mysteries of representation.
This article first appeared in the March-April 2011 issue of Utne Reader.