Thursday, March 08, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Certified Copy (2010) ****

UR, 106 min.
Director/Writer: Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell

“Certified Copy” is one of those movies that I fear writing about, because I feel I cannot express what is good about it without making it seem like the type of movie that only a few people will appreciate. It’s a romance of sorts, but nothing that you’d expect from one. It’s a philosophical movie. It’s philosophical about art, about life, and about love. See, I’ve just lost half my readers.

The film stars that French intellectual beauty Juliette Binoche and William Shimell. I fear I can’t say too much about their characters, because discovering exactly what their relationship is has much to do with the movie’s power. At first you really can’t figure out what brings them together beyond a mutual appreciation of art, and then it’s revealed just why these two people are spending time together and everything changes.

In some ways, “Certified Copy” is a lot like Richard Linklater’s movies “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” in the way it follows a compacted period of time with two people who spend it talking about everything. The conversation is a more limited in “Certified Copy” and the whole movie is a lot more deliberate than Linklater’s movies. Writer/director Abbas Kiarostami is very precise with his camera and his dialogue. His camera rarely moves when the two people are engaged in conversation, but his shots are very consciously framed.

Much of the conversation involves the professional counterfeiting of art. But, it isn’t really about art so much as it is about how people present themselves to each other in relationships and how they present themselves to the world around them. We all seem to have these fairly universal ideals about relationships. Do they stem from environment, or do they spring from some universal need in our collective human consciousness? The movie isn’t really about that either, but these are the types of questions their conversation inspires. I didn’t get any of you back, did I?

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