About Grant

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New York, NY, United States
Film director and screenwriter. Cinephile since birth. Director of DREAMS OF THE WAYWARD (2013). Film Studies MA student at Columbia University.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Film Review: "Certified Copy" (2011) directed by Abbas Kiarostami 4/5

Directed by "controversial" Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, "Certified Copy" is a film about what is real and what is fake.
Juliette Binoche plays a woman only known as "she" (as revealed by the credits) who is moderately infatuated with a man named James Miller who has written a book titled "Certified Copy" which examines the importance of copies and forged artworks and how the fake artworks can bring viewers of art closer to the originals (even though it isn't real)... thus begins our film.
The unnamed main character (she), invites the author to see her personal antique collection, and from that point they spend the entire day together. Their day begins simply by talking about art as they drive through the streets of Italy, but when they stop at a coffee shop and the elderly lady serving the coffee mistakes them for being a married couple Juliette Binoche's character decides to play along. For the rest of the day, she and James spend the whole day pretending to be a married couple traveling through Italy for their 15th wedding anniversary.
The script of "Certified Copy" is not perfect, but it is the small coincidences and random background noises or images that really help the theme of this film breathe. Wedding bells are heard from chapels constantly, and newly weds still in suits and white dresses are seen in several scenes parading the streets and having their pictures taken. (Having the main character unnamed also implies a sense of submission to one' husband as found in wedding vows and the culture that the director is from.)
Where this film could have fallen apart, is just when the story picks up. At times, their pretending and references to events that both of them know never happened (example: their wedding day) cross a line of unbelievability as we, as an audience, have to cross the hurtle that both characters are choosing to pretend they are married without ever acknowledging that they are pretending.
That's where the theme of the film shines at its a best. It does't matter that they weren't really married, as it helped them see their own flaws and gain a greater understanding of love and marriage (just as a forged painting can give a viewer the same knowledge as the real painting).
This movie isn't for everyone, but it is a beautiful look at the occasionally ugly side of love and the things that love can make people do for others.

My ranking: 4/5 stars

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