Film Review: Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Certified Copy’ Tantalizes, Delights

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CHICAGO – Nothing transfixes me quite like transcendent acting and writing when viewed under a cinematic lens. My favorite films of early 2011 have been Tommy Lee Jones’s stunning adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s play, “The Sunset Limited,” and Abbas Kiarostami’s beguiling new masterwork, “Certified Copy.” Both films derive their dramatic power from the differing philosophies of two articulate characters who may or may not be what they seem.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

Neither picture can truly be experienced when viewed casually. They demand an audience’s full attention, engagement and participation. If you don’t leave these films with the overpowering need to discuss and dissect their intricacies, then you obviously zoned out long before the end credits. And yet, neither of these films are rendered inaccessible to the mainstream because of their inherent intellectualism. They are compulsively watchable, effortlessly entertaining, deeply provocative and guaranteed to haunt you for days.

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Certified Copy” in our reviews section.

The celebrated Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami is certainly among the most playful of auteurs. He’s obsessed with exploring the precarious line separating reality from fiction, as he did in his extraordinary 1990 landmark, “Close-Up.” That film told the true-life tale of Hossain Sabzian, a devoted movie lover who passed himself off as the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Kiarostami added multiple levels of intrigue by allowing the real people involved in the story (including Sabzian) to play themselves. And since their opinions about what actually happened tended to differ, their scenes contain a dizzying array of conflicting nuances. By blending the techniques of documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kiarostami seems to be demonstrating that no film can be truly objective since it ultimately represents the perspective of the artist. Since every perspective represents a different reality, who is to say what is real?

‘Certified Copy’ stars Juliette Binoche and William Shimell. It was written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami. It opened March 18 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema and the Landmark Renaissance Place, and is available On Demand. It is not rated.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Certified Copy” review.

Juliette Binoche stars in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.
Juliette Binoche stars in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.
Photo credit: IFC Films

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