English writer James Miller (William Shimell) is promoting his latest book about art in Tuscanny. Before he has to head home he meets up with Elle, (Juliette Binoche) an owner of antique store. They spend an afternoon walking around a small village discussing art, love and relationships. Perhaps it all meaning more than what we might initially suspect.
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami, Certified Copy is a difficult film to talk about with folks who haven’t seen it. Yes, it’s a film that consists of mainly two characters walking and talking. What they are talking about and more importantly what it all really means is something that will leave you thinking about afterwards or should be discussed with your friends after you’ve all watched it.
That was the real fun for me. Two days after watching the film I was still thinking about it, going over exchanges the characters had made and looking at their relationship in differing perspectives. So it did leave quite an impression on me.
The town Arrezo and sites the two traverse is a gorgeous setting. I can imagine fans of the film could have a kick tracing the characters steps if they get to visit this village.
Shimell is very good, especially when I heard this was the first time this opera singer had acted in a film before. However, it’s Binoche whose character of Elle seemingly goes through an emotional rollercoaster that really kept me riveted. She won Best Actress in Cannes for her performance and I think deservedly so.
The title comes from the idea of distinguishing between the authentic and a copy. Can a copy hold as much beauty as the original? Is there any true value to a copy? These discussions seem to revolve around the world of art, but does it represent more than just that?
What happens in the background also offers up possible clues to the characters and this situation. The elderly couples, the weddings, the reflections, window frames…..Kiarostami didn’t place any of them there on accident.
This film is not for everyone. Some might find it pretentious or frustrating with no clear cut answers, but I really enjoyed it and all that it gave me to think about.