Certified Copy (2010)
Dir. Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, etc.
I’d recommend this to Penny, Grace and Kevin. I’d probably recommend this to Chris, Mitchell and Tony as well. I’m not sure if the last three would really like this, but I’m pretty sure they would find this interesting. Jill has a decent chance of being interested in this. No to Don. Larri has a very slim chance of liking this. Not sure about Marc.
The film begins with a writer (Shimell) talking about his recent book about art forgery. His book deals with the differences between the originals and copies–namely, why and if the originals are superior. Later he meets one an art collector (Binoche). They go for a drive, and thus begins a long conversation about art, which reminded me of films like My Dinner with Andre, Mindwalk or even Before Sunrise/Before Sunset films–especially when the conversation turns towards husbands and wives.
Having said all this, the film isn’t as straightforward as I’m making it sound. There is an element of mystery, and I don’t really want to say much more. I will say that there is a kind of mystical poetry in the film–the layers of ideas and the way ideas are expressed and overlap in different ways.
There is a lot to process in the film, and, unfortunately, I haven’t finished processing the film, so I don’t really have too much more to say.
While I don’t have much to say, I want to leave some questions, as well as do my best to respond to them. The first, and probabably most obvious question, is whether the James Miller, the writer, is the woman’s (Binoche; called Elle in the credits) real husband. I understand that critics have debated this point (which reminds me of Last Year at Marienbad–there are similarities with that film), and I’m not sure it’s really crucial. I tend to think that he’s not the husband, but sort of becomes the husband while remaining himself at the same time. (This is the poetic mysticism that I referred to earlier.) Being both isn’t possible, but there’s a sense that that could be the case.
This raises another question: how does their relationship/situation relate to the earlier question about original art versus copies of them? One person I knew interpreted the second half of the film to be a sort of test case for the question of the first part. Is the Miller–a copy of the husband–just as valid as the real husband? I’m not sure I agree with this reading, but it is interesting, and there might be something to this. (I still haven’t worked this out.)
I really should see this again and spend time thinking about it.