After years of working on photography, poetry and experimental films, Kiarostami makes an intriguing return to narrative cinema with a delicate, bittersweet comedy set in Italy. Discussing originality, art creation, marriage and male/female relationships, Certified Copy takes the audience on a philosophical trip to Tuscany with the characters.
An attractive and frivolous French single mother (Binoche) who runs an art gallery in Tuscany meets British author James Miller (Shimell) at an official book conference. The author is on a promotional tour of a book that talks about the difference between original art and copies. Binoche, who is interested in art, wants to meet the author and leaves the address of the antique shop. Writer Miller, who comes to the shop, wants to spend his last day touring around, so the two go on a car ride. In this unplanned journey, an endless conversation begins against marriage, art and male and female perspectives.
“Look at your wife, who has made herself pretty for you. look. Open your eyes.”
Binoche is frank with James and fends off his younger son’s frustrating phone calls, while showcasing his comedian-like abilities, effortlessly switching from English to French and Italian to create a character that is simultaneously offended, manipulative, and seductive. After a misunderstanding at the coffee shop, they pretends to be a married couple, which opens the door to a series of fun but confusing arguments.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing very simple about being simple.”
After this point in the movie, the bridges between the copy and the original begin to break down. As the dialogue dynamics of the duo change, a question mark arises in the minds of the audience: which is the real relationship, which is the fake? A couple pretending to meet for the first time or two people pretending to be married? Both perspectives reflect possible realities. Perhaps Kiarostami’s purpose is to show how the artist chooses the truth and how he can transfer it from the original art to a copy. Author James states in his book that there is no significant difference between an original art object and its copy, and that the copy is sometimes even more popular than the original, while “Art is more valuable than the truth.” brings to mind Nietzsche. “Certified Copy” subtly explores the thinking of men and women with the theme of marriage.
You can follow the traces of the original and the copy lost in the streets of Tuscany with our playlist in the link.