Copie Conforme (Certified Copy) – Abbas Kiarostami – 2010

Kiarostami’s Certified Copy is a modern masterpiece in, ironically, its originality and its approach to time and particularly the seamless evolution of time wrapped into an afternoon, which is then wrapped into 1h 45 minutes. Just from this brief explanation, we can grasp an understanding of the deftness and diligence required by Kiarostami and his team to realise this project.

In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. While there, a chance question reveals something deeper”

The enigmatic nature of the film would perhaps be off-putting to many, and I will admit now that I was cautiously approaching it, as I worried its mysteries would be lost on me. If it weren’t for the dazzling performances of Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, I’m sure this would be the case. Binoche was the stand-out performer for me as her growing display of stress and instability allured exponentially to the supposed timeline of their relationship.

Another wondrously thought-provoking aspect of the film was the nature of the copy and the original (in art) as aptly mentioned by Shimell when referring to his book. Kiarostami makes the application of his characters’ theories to his relationship with his wife and makes conclusions regarding the nature of relationships in all. For example, many times during the film, the characters attempt to re-create copies of the beginning of the relationship. This is suggested many times throughout the film, some examples including: the hand on the shoulder scene which fails as we see by the subsequent scene in the restaurant. Another example would be the end of  the film in which they are in the room they spent their honeymoon in and she tries to remind him of things that were there and he fails to remember. This recurring theme throughout the film is contradictory to the suggestions proclaimed by Shimell’s character in his book where he states that the copy in art is just as valuable and tactful as the original, yet his entire relationship seems to contradict this.

In conclusion, this film is the very definition of enigmatic, yet has an innocuous charm that keeps drawing thought and attention to its story and this is what makes it such a great picture. What else is particularly alluring about it is that I can be certain that the second viewing will unravel and clear up many more mysteries of the film, its wrapped up so tightly that it will always deliver. This film deserves no less than an 8/10.

@ianmperrin

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