EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CERTIFIED COPY (COPIE CONFORME) (director/writer: Abbas Kiarostami; screenwriter: Massoumeh Lahidji; cinematographer: Luca Bigazzi; editor: Bahman Kiarostami; cast: Juliette Binoche (She), William Shimell (James Miller), Jean-Claude Carrière (the Man at the Square), Agathe Natanson (the Woman at the Square), Gianna Giachetti (the Cafe Owner), Adrian Moore (the Son), Angelo Barbagallo (the Interpreter), Andrea Laurenzi (the Guide), Filippo Troiano (the Bridegroom), Manuela Balsimelli (the Bride); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Marin Karmitz/Nathanaël Karmitz/Charles Gillibert/Angelo Barbagallo; MK2 Edition; 2010-France/Italy Belgium-in Italian, French and English, with English subtitles)|
pic that explores how the truth, like art, is always open to
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Acclaimed Iranian director Abbas
Cherry"/"Close-Up"/"The Wind Will Carry Us") helms his first narrative feature outside of
Iran. It's a captivating arthouse pic that explores how the truth, like
art, is always open to interpretation. It's a cerebral pic that points
out that a work of art being original or a reproduction makes no
difference, claiming if both are well-crafted and give one enjoyment
(which should be the true point of life) then it should not matter if
it's a copy. It goes on to compare originality with birth by
provocatively saying we are DNA replicas of our ancestors, so who can
really say if anything is original. It then turns into a playful
relationship film, where an unexpected romance blossoms as the featured
couple blur the lines between reality and imagination when they spend a
sunny day together and turn from strangers to an argumentative couple
who might have had a prior relationship.
James Miller (William Shimell, English opera baritone,
in his first acting role)
an erudite, arrogant and aloof English author in Tuscany to promote
his latest polemic art book, Certified Copy, that champions the opinion
that a good copy is just as good as a so-called original. At the
university lecture he gives is
the French owner (Juliette
Binoche) of an antiques
dealing in replicas, in the host city of Arezzo. Though the single mom leaves after Jim's
opening remarks to take her starved precocious 10-year-old son (Adrian Moore) out to eat, she returns to
show the author her gallery, get him to autograph the six books she
bought and take him in her convertible to visit a nearby picture-book hill town, Lucignano, a popular wedding spot for couples and where the beautiful medieval
town also holds a provincial
museum that houses a portrait painting that for centuries was thought
to be original but fifty years ago it was discovered where the original
was located and that the much admired art work was a copy done by a
forger from Naples some two hundred years ago.
Their time together is short,
as Jim must be back by nine that evening to catch a train to continue
on his book tour.
The testy Jim's not impressed
that his art theory is so easily proven, saying that happens all the
time and is no great surprise. The two retreat to a nearby cafe, where
they argue about marriage as a receptacle of illusions that will become
evident if it fails to meet one's sweet expectations of a happy life.
The woman cafe proprietor (Gianna
takes them for a
bickering married couple and she, whose name is never mentioned,
doesn't dispute that. The two strangers now role-play that they've been
married for the last fifteen years and that he's a workaholic more
interested in his work than in his family. It can no longer be
ascertained with certainty what's real and what's a put on, as the
couple get intense about their supposed relationship and start
seriously talking as if they are really married and furthermore she's
trying to hold his attention by dolling up for him.
It plays out as a talky
conversation piece that's weirdly entertaining and boldly funny (a pic
that could easily be thought of as a copy of
European art films of the 1950s).
it might not be an original film, it's a surprisingly snappy
imitation that could be certified as original and be thought of as
devilishly modern (note all the cell phones put into play).
If you don't care for its
suppositions about art, you can always admire the film as an excellent
acting exercise (Binoche won
the Best Actress Award at Cannes, and carries the film with her
convincing nervous energy performance as a flawed but lovable
humanistic individual), its
beautiful location scenery (cypress
trees along the country road are compared to great painting and mirrors
are popping up everywhere to make us see things as reflections), the
spontaneous diverting conversations that promotes intelligent responses
and its elegance. It's a Before Sunset relationship type of film for
adults, especially for those viewers who admire conversations where the
participants can freely and articulately express their feelings and
still can be
open-minded about searching for more answers while convinced they are
right (Jim reluctantly admits, ‘I only wrote the book to convince myself
of my own ideas’).
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2011 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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