Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Certified Copy: Movie Review


"Certified Copy" is an original work of art.
Discussions on art, on the interpretations of art, and on the value of copies of original art. Discussions on relationships, marriage, and on the types of individuals it takes to enter into one. Discussions on what is truth, what can be left up to the viewer's imagination, and what really matters. "Certified Copy" is all of that. 2010

Directed by: Abbas Kiarostami

Screenplay by: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Juliette Binoche and William Shimell

Left to Right: She (Juliette Binoche) and James Miller (William Shimell).
Photo by Laurent Thurin Nal, courtesy of MK2.
James Miller (William Shimell) is an art historian with a book that declares copies that are just as good as the original piece of art should have just as high a value. A woman (Juliette Binoche) is very interested in his book, but seeing as she disagrees with his point of view, perhaps it's just him that she's interested in. From there we get a relationship that is completely open to the viewer's interpretation of it.

One of the great things of the study of art is that good pieces can mean something different to somebody else. This film not only discusses that, but embraces it and embodies it. Nature does not produce two identical Cypress trees, and I have not found two identical theories to explain this film. Although not to scare off viewers, most theories have a lot in common and I had arrived at my current one at the beginning of the film. Nothing may not be definitive in it, but it can certainly be understood and explained any number of ways.

She (Juliette Binoche). Photo by Laurent Thurin Nal, courtesy of MK2.
Every discussion the filmmaker has in this film relates back to the plot and the main characters' relationship. Your opinions can evolve just as the characters do and their relationship does. Not only was I awe-struck by the visual set-ups and locations for each scene, but also the dialogue-driven set-ups for the characters. I quickly got a handle on what these two people were like based on how they talked and how they talked about other people. Interestingly, how they talked to each other just made their relationship more enigmatic.

"Certified Copy" is an impressive, well written film. It can be enjoyed for its philosophical discussions, for its unravelling of a relationship, and for its subjective plot. I have not seen anything like it and yet it must just be a copy of Richard Linklater and even David Lynch films that came before it. But I will regard it just as highly.
Best of 2011


Howl (2010) - The art of poetry colliding with animation, biography, and cultural revelations.

The City of Your Final Destination (2010) - A relationship drama played out like classic literature.

Before Sunrise (1995) - The beauty of a new relationship realized with beautiful dialogue.