Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Hossain Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual ... See full summary »
Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.
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A train travels across Italy toward Rome. On board is a professor who daydreams a conversation with a love that never was, a family of Albanian refugees who switch trains and steal a ticket... See full summary »
James Miller has just written a book on the value of a copy versus the original work of art. At a book reading, a woman gives him her address, and the next day they meet and take a country-side drive to a local Italian village. Here, they discuss various works of art found in the town, and also the nature of their relationship - which gets both more revealed and concealed as the day progresses. Written by
"Certified Copy" is a film essentially cut in two. Both halves are lovely and when put together it makes for a remarkable whole work. It's a very simple film on the surface, the plot made up almost entirely of a day-long conversation between an author (William Shimell) and a woman (Juliette Binoche) showing him around town. The conversation begins with them being these strangers meeting for the first time, as they discuss his new book (the title of the film) and the theories he brings up within it. They discuss the significance of a copy as opposed to it's original and the film brings up a lot of questions on artificiality, within culture and within life. Questions arise as to whether or not every individual person is just essentially a copy of someone else, and this becomes absolutely fascinating. Then, everything changes. A waitress at a cafe mistakes them for a married couple and the two spend the rest of the day going along with this, playing a game that they are married and they go back and forth as an unhappy couple would.
Or was it mistake? It becomes clear that these people have some connection with each other, whether they are divorced, former lovers or something entirely separate, and the conversation becomes much more biting and intriguing. Writer/director Abbas Kiarostami keeps us gripped into this conversation, as these two ponder on the copies of the world, along with the tribulations of a marriage, what makes a good husband, what makes a good father and so much more. She attacks him for being such an absent father (is her son really his?) and he explains that sometimes one partner in the marriage just has to be gone and that's the way the world is. The film poses so many interesting questions on the world and leaves it up to the viewer to decide the answers for themselves. Each character has their own strong opinion, but Kiarostami never takes a side and tells the viewer the resolution. It's a powerful picture that keeps you thinking long after it's over.
Part of the power of course relies on the strength of the performances, and both of these actors knock it out of the park. William Shimell was the perfect choice for the distant, simple author. Juliette Binoche, however, steals the show, with an authentic and brave performance that ranks up with some of her absolute best. She is arguably the finest actress in cinema today, and has a grasp on portraying vulnerability that very few actors can come close to achieving. Within her you really see the pain of a woman scorned and the exhausting life led by a single mother constantly having to think of someone other than herself. She is everything here; emotional, strong, falling apart and beautiful. It's a perfect performance in a magnificent film. I feel like this is a picture that will only get better on repeated viewings, and it's still quite strong on the first one.
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