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About the Movie
From the acclaimed Iranian director of Taste of Cherry comes the story of a couple's apparent chance meeting in beautiful Tuscany which provocatively blurs the lines between reality and imagination. James (British baritone William Shimell) is an author in town to talk about his new book on the value of copies in art. She (Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche) is a French gallery owner in search of originality. At the end of his address, they meet, and together they tour the countryside, the local galleries, cafes and museums. They talk, first about art, then the nature of happiness, the purpose of existence. Soon they discover that nothing is quite what it seems and truth, like art, is always open to interpretation. They seem so familiar. But have they met before? Are they a couple, or in fact perfect strangers?
And now for CERTIFIED COPY. A Frenchwoman, Juliette Binoche, who owns a gallery in a town in Tuscany, attends a lecture by visiting English author James Miller, William Shimell, in which he proposes that a good copy of a work of art can be as valid as the original work. They meet, and she offers to drive him to the nearby village.
When they go for a coffee, the cafe owner assumes they're husband and wife, and the woman starts to act as if, in fact, they really are.
A French film set in Italy made in English and directed by an Iranian exile - CERTIFIED COPY could have turned into almost anything but, in the end, it's a bit of a disappointment. Abbas Kiarostami, the first of the new generation of great Iranian directors to emerge in the 80s, has been making increasingly obscure video films of late, so his return to narrative form is welcome. And for a while the drama intrigues and amuses, mainly thanks to the brittle, smart performance by Juliette Binoche, who won the Best Actress award in Cannes last year for this role. More problematic is British opera singer, William Shimell, in his first straight acting role; he's adequate in the early scenes but when called upon to express anger and other emotions he fails badly, and in the process tips the film out of balance. The ideas here are interesting and even exciting - but Kiarostami, perhaps because he was so far removed from his comfort zone, has trouble expressing them.