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Certified Copy (4 stars)

Abbas Kiarostami's latest film is the first to be shot outside Iran

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Certified Copy

(12A) 106 min

Certified Copy is the first feature shot outside Iran by director Abbas Kiarostami. Initially, it feels out of kilter with the austere experimentation of his recent features and displays more of an affinity with Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset than the work of the man who made 10 On Ten and Shirin. Set amidst sun-kissed Tuscan locations, it is playful, accessible and surprisingly engaging. It feels like Kiarostami in holiday mood.

Opera singer William Shimell is suitably dry and starchy as academic author James Miller. In Arezzo, he talks about his new book which questions the notion of authenticity in art and whether reproductions or copies can be just as artistically valid as the originals. He subsequently meets an unnamed antiques dealer (Juliette Binoche) who drives him to the hill town of Lucignano. They chat and challenge each other, skirmishing in a way that hints at conventional romantic comedy. When they are mistaken for a married couple, they seem to play along with the misconception and the film asks the viewer to decide what is genuine, whether this is just a copy of a real relationship and if it even matters.

Deliberately evoking Roberto Rossellini’s Voyage To Italy, Certified Copy is a thoughtful, genuinely beguiling puzzle of a film with a luminous performance from Binoche that earned her the Best Actress Prize at Cannes. It is a film that grows in stature as it stubbornly haunts the memory.

Selected release, Fri 3 Sep. GFT, Glasgow from September 3.

Certified Copy trailer

Certified Copy

  • 2010
  • France/Italy/Iran
  • 106 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Written by: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Cast: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell

Kiarostami steers away from the experimentation of recent work, bringing a holiday feel to this quasi-romantic comedy. Shimell as author James Miller is pleasingly dry, while Binoche demonstrates why she deserved her Best Actress Prize at Cannes for her role in this intriguing enigma of a film.

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