Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Traces of Love: Certified Copy (2010)****

Reviewed by Shu Zin

The central question in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's enigmatic CERTIFIED COPY is never answered, and that is: what is real, and what is a copy? But this is nonetheless a deeply affecting film that fascinates and compels. There are two central characters and a son, who may or may not belong to them. The boy is the liveliest character in the film. He is also believable, and the one with the least power. 

Juliette Binoche and William Shimell appear to meet at a talk given by Shimell, who plays an English writer. He is in Florence to speak about his new book, addressing his theory that in art, a copy is as good as an original; it's all in the perception, totally subjective. He meets the beautiful antiques store owner (Binoche) and they spend the day together wandering from Fiesole to Arezzo together, discussing art and their lives. 

I don't want to spoil the story, but a case could be made for this film being an Iranian take on a French/English relationship in Italy with WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF overtones. Whatever else it is, this beautifully sad film is a realistic treatise on marriage. But for the awkward question of their relationship's authenticity, I would have given this 5*. It left me pensive. Your call.

Reviewed by Shu Zin

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