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Certified Copy

Juliette Binoche - Winner! Best Actress Cannes Film Festival

The ostensible topic of the lecture in the opening scene of Certified Copy is how difficult it is to ascribe authenticity to even seemingly “original” artworks. Yet many of the statements also serve as caveats about the ambiguous and elusive nature of the story that Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami tells in his first narrative feature in nearly a decade (and first ever in English). Just as James Miller (William Shimell)—a British writer who has come to Italy to promote his book, also named Certified Copy—claims in his talk that there are “no immutable truths to fall back on,” there is no way for viewers to know anything for sure about the relationship between the lecturer and the unnamed French woman (Juliette Binoche) with whom he spends the rest of the day, ambling through Tuscany. Details in their conversations variously suggest that they’ve just met, that they are lovers reunited, even that they’re married. What Kiarostami has done is essentially condense a whole array of romantic (and not-so-romantic) scenarios into one stream of talk. Much of that talk is enchanting, insightful and intellectually provocative, while some is as curt and maddening as any marital tiff. This central mystery has been polarizing critics and viewers ever since Certified Copy debuted at Cannes last year. That’s possibly because many of us like those immutable truths—indeed, getting the opportunity to be certain about something (or someone) is one reason we go to movies. But to lament their absence here is to deny many pleasures, from Binoche’s wondrously dexterous performance, to the lovely Tuscan scenery, to the moments of sly humour that give Certified Copy the same oddly effervescent feel as Close-Up, the equally slippery film that introduced Kiarostami’s work to the west in 1990. That his latest is able to say so much about art and life (and men and women), and do it with such a light touch, should be all the proof you need of Certified Copy’s own value. Courtesy, Jason Anderson, EYE Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Abbas Kiarostami,
Running Time: 
Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carriere, Agathe Natanson
Screenplay by: 
Abbas Kiarostami,

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