Sunday, March 27, 2011

CERTIFIED COPY

Juliette Binoche, William Shimell



British author James Miller (William Shimell) is in Tuscany to promote his latest book. He accepts an offer from French gallery owner Elle (Juliette Binoche) to be his guide for the afternoon. They drive to nearby villages, discussing art, honesty and relationships.

During the course of their journey, the 2 main characters start to assume another identity. An old woman at a tavern that serves them beverages thought they were a married couple. Soon enough, they pretend that they are indeed married and completely dissect the anatomy of their failing 'marriage'.

The rather unique innovation of this peculiar film, however, is that the more we watch, the less sure we are about the relationship we're watching. Are these people two strangers discovering fascinating clashes and affinities, or have they known each other for years? Are they, in fact, husband and wife? But Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami never completely spells things out, assuming audiences can think for themselves and appreciate all the film's subtleties and intonations.

"Certified Copy" is also a kind of middle-aged answer to the "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" movies, with two attractive people walking around a beautiful European location, in this case Tuscany, talking nonstop and getting to know each other. And just like the above mentioned Linklater movies, you can all chalk it down to simply two people having a conversation.

One of them just happens to be the refreshing Juliette Binoche who can make the everything seem quite ethereal. Every nuanced emotions is clearly expressed on her luminous face. The fact that she speaks French, English and Italian quite fluently and eloquently in this intriguing film proves how talented she is. Aside from the lovely scenery, she is a good reason to endure this film which I reckon won't really appeal to moviegoers who don't like 'talkative' characters.

If you see "Certified Copy," I bet you'll come up with questions of your own. And as long as you're not expecting to get any answers, you'll be rewarded with a uniquely provocative film.

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