This is it. The Good Stuff. Quiet, except when it isn't, the long, luxurious, dialog-heavy scenes show a director with great faith in the script and performers. My focus occasionally waned, but, the feeling in this film is a delight. Also— a superb ending! There's just a lot of real stuff here and it's all The Good Stuff.
To quote Ebert, "Kiarostami is rather brilliant in the way he creates offscreen spaces." The abrupt, violent ending first leaves one unsettled, perhaps even dissatisfied. Yet it's those offscreen spaces that begin to haunt. The cocoons of comfortable falsehoods we fabricate for ourselves are both a necessity and a curse. It's telling that the two moments of raw truth in the film yield heartbreak and terror.
There's some really brave choices here in terms of the cinematography. The particular moment I am thinking of is the opening scene in the bar where the two characters are talking at the table. The framing does not focus on a specific character and in this way I think they managed to great a very real and naturalistic style. Actually, the character is often very still which creates a greater sense of realism.
Raiku Samuwan In Rabu is an interesting and immersive drama. Despite its ending, it’s worth a watch for some masterful character development and amazing cinematography. If you’re uncomfortable with a lack of closure or ambiguous endings, this isn’t the film for you. This is for viewers who want to see a dramatic film that is a little bit different and unexpected. 3.5 / 5
A seemingly empty film, that functions almost solely on suggestions. This abstract way of storytelling, combined with the abrupt beginning and ending, lends the viewer the impression of being an outside observer who is unable to properly judge the characters or their actions. But that is the beauty of this and many Kiarostami films. We have no choice but to respect them as human and allow them to keep their secrets.
There are two brilliant sequences right off the bat. The beguiling first shot, which builds into a deceptively simple two-shot introduction to the rest of the film. And then a masterful sequence in the back of the cab which recalls to mind Chantal Ackerman's "News from Home" aided with a bit more narrative oomph. The rest of the film can't quite hold up to the promises of these sequences. Still very worthwhile.
This is one of the only instances I can remember where I found a film's plot to be sexist and patronizing but the execution of that plot left me with no choice but to fall head over heels in love with the movie. One mustn't disregard the forest for the trees, but this is one beautiful fucking tree.