Kiarostami has been seen as a filmmaker of the mind, of mental impressions and temporal disruption (It can be recalled here ‗Taste of Cherry‟, which was the first introduction I had with Kiarostami‘s work). However, with his latest film, we can draw many comparisons: For instance, Resnais Last Year at Marienbad (1961), Rossellini‘s Voyage to Italy (1954), Buñuel‘s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), but also Antonioni‘s La Notte (1961). Like Rossellini’s film it narrates a crumbling marriage (or is it a marriage?); like Antonioni’s, the characters’ transformation and the story contains intriguing omissions; like Resnais’, it circles around the mystery of how these people know each other; and like the Buñuel‘s films it opposes any effort on the viewer’s part to read it literally or ‗to provide possible explanations for the characters’ actions‘.
The subjects thus ungrounded by time, simultaneously couple and non-couple, now have the power of ‘beginning and beginning again’ of the eternal return. In a simple setting of two people conversing through the streets of Tuscany, these concepts are given a raw light. The becoming-other that it offers is not that which is commonly experienced in everyday life. In fact, it illustrates a rare form of temporal displacement, perhaps more akin to dream or fantasy than to ‗reality‘. There is something outside the frame and outside the story, and the text or the frame of the finished film is all we have to go by. But this is not to say that the unspoken intentions do not matter or were never there or should not even be looked towards.