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The List Thus Far (Certified Weird Movies)

3 Women (1977)

8 1/2 (1963)

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)

Akira (1988)

Alice [Neco Z Alenky] (1988)

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Allegro non Troppo (1976)

Altered States (1980)

The American Astronaut (2001)

Antichrist (2009)

Archangel (1990)

Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

Barbarella (1968)

Barton Fink (1991)

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Begotten (1991)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Belle de Jour (1967)

Black Swan (2010)

Blood Diner (1987)

Blood Tea and Red String (2006)

A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Branded to Kill (1967)

Brazil (1985)

Bronson (2008)

Careful (1992)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Cemetery Man [Dellamorte Dellamore] (1994)

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

The City of Lost Children [La cité des enfants perdus] (1995)

Clean, Shaven (1993)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Cowards Bend the Knee, or, the Blue Hands (2003)

Daisies [Sedmikrásky] (1966)

The Dark Backward (1991)

Dead Man (1995)

Dead Ringers (1988)

Delicatessen (1991)

Dillinger is Dead (1969)

Doggiewogiez! Poochiewoochiez! (2012)

Dogtooth [Kynodontas] (2009)

Dogville (2003)

Donnie Darko (2001)

Don't Look Now (1973)

Elevator Movie (2004)

Enemy (2013)

Enter the Void (2009)

Eraserhead (1977)

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

Evil Dead II (1987)

Eyes Without a Face [Les Yeux sans Visage] (1965)

Fantastic Planet [La Planète Sauvage] (1973)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Fellini Satyricon (1969)

Final Flesh (2009)

Forbidden Zone (1982)

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Gothic (1986)

Gozu (2003)

La Grande Bouffe (1973)

Greaser's Palace (1972)

Gummo (1997)

Häxan [Witchcraft Through the Ages] (1922)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Help! Help! The Globolinks [Hilfe! Hilfe! Die Globolinks] (1969)

Holy Motors (2012)

The Holy Mountain (1973)

The Horrors of Spider Island [Ein Toter hing im Netz] (1960)

House [Hausu] (1977)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

I Can See You (2008)

Idiots and Angels (2008)

I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK [Saibogujiman Kwenchana] (2006)

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (2009)

L'Immortelle (1963)

Ink (2009)

INLAND EMPIRE (2006)

Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995)

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

John Dies at the End (2012)

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

Keyhole (2011)

Kontroll (2003)

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kwaidan (1964)

The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

The Legend of Suram Fortress [Ambavi Suramis Tsikhitsa] (1984)

Lisztomania (1975)

Little Otik [Otesánek] (2000)

Lost Highway (1997)

Love Exposure (2008)

Lucifer Rising (1981)

Maelstrom (2000)

Malpertuis (1972)

Maniac (1934)

Marquis (1989)

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

The Milky Way [La Voie Lactee] (1969)

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Naked Lunch (1991)

Night of the Hunter (1955)

Night Train to Terror (1985)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nostalghia (1983)

O Lucky Man! (1973)

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Paprika (2006)

Performance (1968/1970)

Persona (1966)

Phantasm (1979)

Pi (1998)

The Pillow Book (1996)

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Pink Floyd the Wall (1982)

Prospero's Books (1991)

The Red Squirrel [La Ardilla Roja] (1993)

The Reflecting Skin (1990)

Repo Man (1984)

A Report on the Party and Guests (1966)

Repulsion (1965)

Robot Monster (1953)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rubber (2010)

Run Lola Run (1998)

The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

Sans Soleil (1983)

Santa Sangre (1989)

The Science of Sleep (2006)

A Serious Man (2009)

Shanks (1974)

Shock Corridor (1963)

Silent Hill (2006)

Sin City (2005)

The Singing Ringing Tree (1957)

Skidoo (1968)

Solaris [Solyaris] (1972) -

Songs from the Second Floor (2000)

Stalker (1979)

Steppenwolf (1974)

Strange Frame: Love & Sax (2012)

Suspiria (1977)

Sweet Movie (1974)

The Swimmer (1968)

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Tales from the Quadead Zone (1987)

Taxidermia (2006)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Tideland (2005)

Time Bandits (1981)

The Tin Drum (1979)

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

El Topo (1970)

Toto the Hero [Toto le Heros] (1991)

Trash Humpers (2009)

The Tree of Life (2011)

The Trial (1962)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Tromeo & Juliet (1996)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Upstream Color (2013)

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

Vertigo (1958)

Videodrome (1983)

Visitor Q (2001)

Waking Life (2001)

Weekend (1967)

The Wicker Man (1973)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Yellow Submarine (1968)

You, the Living [Du Levande] (2007)

Zardoz (1974)

CAPSULE: LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE (2012)

Recommended

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi,

PLOT: Akiko is a young female student moonlighting as a call girl; her pimp sends her on an assignment in the suburbs, where her client, Takashi, is an elderly professor who doesn’t seem terribly interested in her carnal services. When he deigns to drive her back to the city the next day, he begins to take on an unexpectedly intimate role in her life, becoming personally involved in her troubled relationship with Noriaki, her possessive boyfriend.

Still from Like Someone in Love (2012)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: The weirdest thing about Like Someone in Love is that it eschews the most predictable filmmaking conventions: a traditional narrative arc, gratifying resolution, and explanatory coherence. This results in a powerful film, but not one that breaks dramatically with film language or narrative logic. It’s a moody, sensitive character study with the rhythms of an art film, not a groundbreaking work of cinematic weirdness.

COMMENTS: Like Someone in Love doesn’t have much of a traditional narrative arc, and it doesn’t play much with our expectations… as a result, there’s a pronounced lack of suspense and release, a tendency to eschew those kinds of narrative pleasures that normally attend these things we call “movies.” In a way, it feels more like a self-contained art object, a constellation of characters and relationships that’s designed to intrigue the active mind.

There’s nothing so radical about the film that it should de facto qualify for the Weird Movies list. Its organic rhythms and intentional ambiguity should be familiar to anyone who’s seen some art films. On its own merits, though, it’s a masterful work of cinema, an ideal case study in style, technical proficiency, and unified vision.

One of the great things about Like Someone in Love is how it demonstrates the strength of this kind of ambiguous, minimalist filmmaking: within its naturalistic treatment of its subjects, it creates huge fertile spaces for the proliferation of symbolic meanings and psychological resonance. It’s shot painstakingly, with the camera always intensely aware of its space. Doorways, reflections, confined interiors, obstructions, and the space outside the frame: all these become Kiarostami’s playthings. In his control of objects and the camera’s eye, he is reminiscent of , whose style was similarly deliberate, ostensibly naturalistic, but profoundly self-aware.

The result of this high level of control is that many objects take on cosmic symbolic (or psychological) significance. Windows and glass are especially important to this story, protecting various characters from outside forces, allowing them to maintain their distance and their illusions. Telephones are also rich in meaning, providing vectors and blind spots where each character’s defenses can be penetrated. Cars? Another symbol with apparently endless significance: Takashi’s car is one of his domains of safety and control, and Noriaki seems to have an unusual power over cars, being a mechanic himself.

As an “art object,” Like Someone in Love is not merely an assemblage of these kinds of thematic adornments. It also has weight and substance to it, especially in its complex characters and their occasional poignant moments. One of the earliest scenes is an extended car ride to the suburbs, as Akiko watches the city lights slide by and listens to a series of phone messages from her grandmother. The power in this lengthy scene is tremendous, and I can’t hope to describe its emotional effect. It has the touch of a genuinely brilliant filmmaker.

A great deal of the film concerns the difference between the young and the elderly, which Takashi evokes when he talks about “experience.” The young people in the film—Akiko and Noriaki—are swallowed up by ambitions and pretenses and delusions, and their attitudes contrast sharply with that of Takashi, who faces the world with a wealth of patience and composure. These characters are rendered richly in gestures and pauses and hesitations, and in this regard, Kiarostami recalls the work of Ozu, who often addressed this theme, and did it with many of the same tools.

These characters are drawn into mysterious constellations of authenticity and deception and mistaken identity. In this regard, Someone in Love feels like Certified Copy, Kiarostami’s last film. Both films dealt with the fluidity of identity and the shifting of roles, and even as both films hinged on a broad self-imposed deception, both seemed to find a deeper truth in the lie. Regarding Like Someone in Love, this prompted Richard Brody of The New Yorker to suggest the following thesis: “Love is a lie, but it’s one that’s best not to ask questions about.”

Brody’s attempted thesis statement is one excellent way of reading the film, but it’s certainly not the only one. One of the best things about this curious, multifaceted cinematic work is that it’s about many things at once, even as it seems to be a simple, if oblique, story fragment about love and mistaken identity. It may not be among the weirdest films, but I would certainly count it among the best.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“It’s odd in a film when you can’t imagine what the next shot is going to be, where a character’s ‘arc’ is going to leave him or her, whether you’re watching a drama or a tragedy.”—David Edelstein, Vulture (contemporaneous)

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