Certified Copy begins with writer James Miller (William Shimell) giving a talk about his new book, entitled Certified Copy. He writes about art, in terms of original works and those which are reproductions. Juliette Binoche plays a French gallery owner looking for original works of art and comes in just as he’s about to start.
She finds him attractive so buys 6 copies of the book, even though she doesn’t really like it – but she wants to get them signed so she can meet him again and they spend the day together, go out for lunch and have a look around Tuscany.
The conversation turns very weird around 55 minutes in after they are mistaken for a married couple and she suggests the keep up the pretence to, and around, anyone they meet. That’s it, basically. That’s all they do. None of this makes any sense. They’ve met on a particular day – she fancies him, he clearly has a thing for her. They’ve only got one day together before he’s got to get a train and no doubt hawk his book elsewhere, so why do they suddenly get off on being dicks around each other. And to make matters worse, from then on they keep jumping between French, Italian and English even though, up until that moment, James has always spoken in English.
However, while films of two people talking *can* be of interest – and I found that at the end of last year in Room in Rome (and that wasn’t just because the two women in it spent most of the time in the buff) – this one isn’t, particularly. In fact, this is definitely the worst film I’ve seen in 2011… although it’s early days, literally.
It’s only worth 1/10 for the presence of Ms Binoche, and I liked that fact that there are quite a few one-take shots, making it feel more like a play. However, she and her co-star have zero chemistry between them. Over 1000 people on IMDB helped give this film 7.3/10. They’re all mad!
Presented in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is sharp and detailed where it counts with no particular problems, but at the same time, the Tuscany location just looks… okay. There’s nothing stunning about the image. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
As for the sound, this is in DTS 5.1, but it’s all dialogue and has no faults with that.
As for the extras, if you did enjoy this film then you’ll be pleased to learn that the Making Of Certified Copy (52:02) runs for almost an hour and begins by director Abbas Kiarostami telling how he came to put the film together including meeting Juliette Binoche and tailoring the role to fit her. Chat from other crew members, plus Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, is shown inbetween work-in-progress filming. Sadly, for such a long piece of supplemental material, there are no chapters.
The only other extra is a Trailer (1:59) in anamorphic 1.85:1.
The menu mixes the sound of Tuscan church bells chiming with a picture of Juliette Binoche against an ever-changing colourful background, with her in the same pose as the cover artwork.
There are subtitles in English only, and for a film which has a mixture of French, Italian and English language in it, I find it odd that they disappear when English is spoken. Sure, we don’t NEED any English to be translated, but the whole point of subtitles is that they’re there for the entire duration of the film. Finally, the chaptering is a woeful 12 over the 106-minute running time. I also go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, taking into account one each for the opening and closing credits.
Running time: 106 minutes
Date of release: January 2011
Distributor: Artificial Eye
Cat no: ART015BD
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Producers: Angelo Barbagallo, Charles Gillibert, Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz and Abbas Kiarostami
Screenplay: Abbas Kiarostami
Elle: Juliette Binoche
James Miller: William Shimell
L’homme de la place: Jean-Claude Carrière
La femme de la place: Agathe Natanson
La patronne du café: Gianna Giachetti
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.