Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001), with its unexplained mid-film narrative disjunction, more than it does the other films about enigmatic relationships or disintegrating marriages to which it has frequently been compared: Journey to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1953), L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960), and Last Year in Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961). The title of the film refers to the book James has written about art, in which he argues that the distinction between an "original" work of art and a copy of it is irrelevant. Consequently, Kiarostami, who wrote the screenplay with Caroline Eliacheff, plays with duplicates and mirrors throughout the film, with the help of cinematographer Luca Bigazzi. There is, for example, a wonderfully tricky shot of James standing by a motorcycle with his image reflected in a mirror inside a doorway while Elle's is reflected in the motorcycle's distorting wide-angle mirror. In short, Certified Copy is a dazzling tease of a film that gets inside your head. Whether it's more than that probably depends on how willing you are to unpack its intricacies.