Dir: Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell
The only word that escaped my mouth as the credits rolled for Certified Copy was ‘stunning’. It truly is, in every which way; I haven’t seen anything quite like this for a long time.
The film is that of mystery, but not for the characters, for the audience. On the surface it is about a British author who is promoting his latest book in Tuscany. He meets a French woman whilst there and they decide to take a day trip to the village of Lucignano and explore the art that they are both so fond of. Whilst there, it is put into question whether these two characters know each other or are they complete strangers.
The two characters Elle (Juliette Binoche) and James (William Shimell) discuss art throughout the film, and argue the value of authentic pieces as opposed to copies of pieces. This reflects the way they treat each other, as the audience is left to wonder are they themselves authentic or copies.
I loved the way this played out; we are introduced to the characters and see their interactions towards each other. They seem like strangers, but there is a real sense of familiarity there, something that plays with the audience early on. It is their on-going interactions that really leave us pondering exactly what is what and perhaps they were strangers all along.
Writer/director Abbas Kiarostami does not have a clear intention, but I do believe he has done it in such a way that the audience can really decided for themselves. It really is like a piece of art, the reality of it all lies within the artist and the audience. A great example is when you see a painting, and you decide for yourself what it is and what it must mean, and then you find out what the artist had intended, and compare the differences.
The film is wonderfully shot, Tuscany is an absolutely stunning place and the camera adores it. The cinematography for the scenes is handled with a natural precision; it is in its own right a piece of moving art. The POV shots often change, from one perspective to another, it was rather engaging and delightful. There is a sense of intimacy with the characters and the audience, yet there is a feeling that more has happened then what we have seen on this journey.
The performances are fantastic; Binoche walked away with the Best Actress Award at Cannes, and it is easy to see why. Her performance requires her to speak three differently languages (English, French, Italian), and she manages to convey everything without a stutter in doing so. There is such expression in her eyes, and the way she moves. She will without question be regarded as one of the greatest actors of her generation, a true beauty. William Shimell is also very good, perhaps coming off as more mysterious than her at times. The pair had the right amount of chemistry, that either scenario of ‘strangers’ or ‘couple’ was feasible.
This is a great film; it will leave its audiences thinking many questions. Do these questions all have straight answers, no but that is the beauty of art and cinema.
The Australian DVD
Audio/Video: The video is a 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation. Picture quality is perfect, it looks stunning, especially with the amazing visuals the film has to offer. Audio is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, sounds fantastic, very crisp and clear.
Extras: The DVD release will come with the addition of the trailer, and other Director’s Suites trailers.
Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.