Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thoughts on Certified Copy (Copie Conforme)

"I know you hate me. There's nothing I can do about that. But at least try to be a little consistent."

Can you like a movie when you can't fully grasp it? You know the director, Abbas Kiarostami, is trying to tell you something, he's being all too subtle about it, but he's definitely trying to make a point. You've spent a couple of hours watching him use two wonderful actors and the beautiful Italian village of Lucignano to bring to screen his thoughts through conversations that vary a ton between small talk and opionated discourse and that jump up and down an emotional scale.

The first time the characters played by William Shimell and Juliette Binoche meet in Certified Copy, you take it for granted that it really is the first time that they're meeting. But soon you realize, through very well picturized scenes of them interacting while driving through, walking along and sitting in cafe's and restaurants that what you took for granted is defintely up for debate. Are these two characters really meeting for the first time?

Shimell's character, James Miller, is an art historian who's written a book called 'Certified Copy' in which he proposes that there is no such thing as a copy as even the Mona Lisa is a reproduction, a Da Vincian take on Lisa del Giocondo. There is no point in questioning the autenticity of a piece of art if every piece of art is a copy. He then poses the question, why should the question of authenticity detract from the emotional connect between a viewer and the colors that bring to life an empty canvas or the painstakingly chiselled statue that anchors a piazza. The connection between this truth of Miller's and the relationship between the characters is what has got me thinking about the movie long after the credits rolled. Is theirs an authentic relationship? And what determines that authenticity - the perception of the strangers around them or their own point of view of what brings them together and keeps them apart?

To answer the question I raised at the beginning, can you like a movie that you can't fully grasp, yes I think you can. The act of searching for the truth in an open ended story - whether it be in written or visual form - is extremely rewarding. And when you have an actor of Juliette Binoche's caliber, expressing vulnerability with stunning ease and honesty, guiding you through that journey, oh boy it's worth it.

P.S: It's on Netflix Instant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The act of searching for the truth in an open ended story - whether it be in written or visual form - is extremely rewarding." Your way of explaining a movie with a somewhat abstract story line is very good :-)
Excellent review of a film with a different theme than the run of the mill movies.