Certified Copy [copie Conforme] Movie Review
Cast & Crew
Director : Abbas Kiarostami
Screenwriter : Abbas Kiarostami
In Tuscany, author James Miller (Shimell) finds that his latest book, Certified Copy, is more acclaimed in Italy than back home in England. A fan, Elle (Binoche), buys the book to her friends while her son (Moore) teases her that she's in love with the author. In her shop full of antiques (and copies), she meets James and the two head off for a day of visiting museums and roaming through an Italian village. And as they talk, they invent their own history as a couple.
The film is clearly an examination of originality; the subject of Miller's book is that a copy of an artwork has value of its own. Kiarostrami seems to be asking whether something that's not original can still be called authentic, and he's seeing this through the prism of culture. The dialog is a fascinating mix of French, Italian and English, discussing serious issues mixed in with offhanded observations. And the script constantly cycles around to find places where these big ideas meet real life.
Performances from Binoche and Shimell are relaxed and realistic, with gentle humour and quiet chemistry, especially when people mistake them for husband and wife (are they?). Shot in a low-key observational style, the conversation is constantly in motion both as it floats from topic to topic and as these two people roam around the village. Kiarostrami directs this with a beautifully light touch, packing the screen with telling details and moments that are funny and emotional, although it's not easy to engage with.
The questions raised through all of this chat are complex and a bit bewildering. As it progresses, we become increasingly unsure what we're watching, and what the real history is between Elle and James. Yes, this is essentially a talky string of dialog from start to finish, but the range of discussion and the raw honesty of it makes it rather gripping. As long as you're not expecting something to actually happen.
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