Our next movie is the best film I saw last year and it’s now being released in theaters. It’s called CERTIFIED COPY and it’s set over the course of a long, lazy afternoon in Tuscany. Juliette Binoche plays a French antiques dealer who invites a visiting English writer, played by opera singer William Shimell, to come see a museum. The two – who’ve never met before today – are mistaken for a married couple, and flirtatiously decide to play along.
Clip 2 (“Immortal”)
Over the course of the afternoon, however, their mutual game starts to get out of control, and they find themselves inventing not only a happy present, but a difficult past.
Clip 1 (“Good husband”)
In fact, Shimell and Binoche resemble a couple so much that strangers approach them as if they were one. Here, the great French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, in a brief cameo as a fellow tourist, gives Schimmel some unsolicited advice.
Clip 3 (“All she wants”)
The film is the work of Abbas Kiarostami -- one of the foremost artists and greatest directors of our time -- and this is the first movie he’s directed outside of Iran. CERTIFIED COPY is a masterpiece that hinges not only on Kiarostami’s intelligence as a director and screenwriter, but also on the lead actors. The film takes its title from a book by Shimmel's character on art forgery that argues that there’s no difference between a real object and fake one if they express the same thing. That may seem simple and cynical at first, but it’s merely the starting point for these two lonely but confident people, whose conversations become increasingly enigmatic as the film goes on.
Yeah I kept thinking about this over and over after I saw it and I love the fact that it is so enigmatic. You could look at it from a million different perspectives. Are they strangers and are they feeling one another out the whole way or are they playing a game from the start just to sort of reinvigorate their marriage?
Well, what do you think?
And I kind of want everyone to go see this movie and then come back and watch us talk about it. We have to have a whole spoiler alert segment of our show here because I think that they are married and things have disintegrated and they’re playing a little game of make believe and they’re trying to perk things back up again and eventually they just can’t do the charade anymore and the resentment has come out. This is my interpretation of it. You can look at it a million ways and that kind of plays into the whole idea of a copy. It’s a fake version of their real screwed up marriage.
Well, I think you’re wrong about this.
Alright, okay, go.
Ok, I think they are total strangers and there’s a line of dialogue or a few lines of dialogue by Binoche’s son at the beginning of the film that I think suggests that she has never met Shimmel before, but to me, the reason that I tend to believe they are strangers is that to me, the film derives it’s power from the fact that they are strangers. This is a film about what can happen within conversation. What people can sort of invent between themselves just by talking to one another. That’s what this film is about. If they are in fact a married couple than the movie is just kind of a puzzle box that’s intentionally being elusive.
I think it is that and I love this because her emotions are just right there. They are so visceral and so intense and so real and she is amazing in this.
This is I think Binoche’s finest performance.
Because she is essentially giving three different performances. Whether in English or French or Italian, she’s giving a different person each time and they’re all believable. So I agree with you, it’s gorgeous.