So its movie #2 of this year's 2010 New York Film Festival. Certified Copy has been in the works for over 2 years and it finally made its way to America. Fresh off of seeing The Social Network less than 12 hours ago, this was a nice change of pace (although this doesn't mean i didn't enjoy social network, because i did). For the simple fact that this movie is clearly aimed at intellectuals and romantics, two things I'm not, I'm surprised that i liked this movie as much as i did. Certified Copy had a lot of great qualities. The movie was a throwback to the classic romantic films like; L'eclisse and Last Tango in Paris, while processing the playfulness found in Godard's A Woman is a Woman but more mature than Godard and less explicit as Tango In Paris. Juliette Binoche, who's never looked more beautiful, gave a great performance (reminiscent of actresses like; Monica Vitti and Anna Karina) and not only was this director; Abbas Kiarostami's first film set outside of Iran, it was his first film outside of his comfort zone in all together. Usually, Kiaorstami envokes the spirit of Bergman more than any other director. I mean, his most famous film; Taste Of Cherry, could easily be compared to Bergman's Wild Strawberries. His other films typically deal with Islam, spirituality, or center around children. Certified Copy is a tad bit surreal, multi-lingual (English, french and Italian...three languages Kiarostami has never worked in) and there's no sign of religious spiritualism. To my knowledge this is all new territory for him.In Certified Copy Juliette Binoche plays an art gallery owner in Italy who spends the day with an Author (played by William Shimell) who's in town on a book tour. When they're mistaken for husband and wife by an old lady they decide to go with it for the rest of the day, and pretend they've been married for 15 years. And although they're playing a game with one another, they REALLY act like a married couple and never break character. They get in to intense arguments about petty stuff that never happened in their made up past, reminisce about the fake anniversary they never really spent together, and discuss their made up son they have (although Binoche's character does have a son in the film). At certain points in the movie as they aimlessly wander around the Italian countryside they come across 3 (actual) couples at completely different stages in their relationships (a newlywed couple, a middle-age couple and an old couple). Kind of obvious symbolism but i still like the way it was pulled off. Eventually the game turns in to reality and the two really fall in love with each other.
For people who aren't in to romance films set in a 24 hour period like; Before Sunset or Before Sunrise (which I'm not), this may be the answer for you. The dialogue/script is very intelligent (the subplot of the film deals with the study of authentic art vs. fake art) and the romance isn't sappy. In fact at no point in the movie do the lead actors kiss (yet the film can still be categorized as a love story).
I'm more than impressed with the job Abbas Kiarostami did. Usually when a director steps outside of his or her comfort zone for the first time, you can still see shades of their other work. Take The Social Network (mentioned earlier) for example. Everyone knows David Fincher has range. I mean, Se7en, Alien 3, Fight Club and The Social Network really have nothing to do with each other, but you can tell they all come from the same guy. Same thing with a guy like Soderbergh. The Informant, Oceans's 11, Sex Lies & Videotape and The Limey are all totally different from one another (plot-wise), but you can still see Soderbergh's style in all of those movies. Certified Copy almost feels like it was directed by someone other than Kiarostami.
According to the opening credits it looks like IFC films will be putting this movie out, so i wouldn't be surprised if this got released before the year is over.
*With this set to be released on criterion in a few months I figured I'd go back and give it a revision/revisit.*