Kiarostami’s idea for the film began with an image. Driving in a taxi through the raffish entertainment district of Roppongi, he filmed an elderly lady standing on a street corner. Who she was, what she was doing, why she was there, was a mystery pregnant with possibilities. In fact, she was an extra hired by Kiarostami to figure in random locations. This is the way Kiarostami prepares his films, with fragments of staged life filmed with a video camera, like sketches made in preparation for a large painting. He was also fascinated by the photographs of call girls pinned up in Tokyo telephone booths.