Film Review of Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy

It may be that a film reminds you of a time spent in affection and the revelations it brings with it. But creating that cinematic language and fluency where a film can retain the yearning of a love reserved for a time ahead of yours is unique. Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy is one such gem. It’s intimate and perplexing.

The idea that you can go back to being a stranger to someone you’ve mapped your infinite and finite moments with. And to race ahead to recognize and share in a stranger’s closeness and sincerity as you would your own. Abbas Kiarostami shows you both possibilities and evokes in you a question, both timeless and wise: Does the difference between a piece of art and its copy matter?

The mirrored transparency of the question seeps into the philosophical and candid nature of Elle and James Miller. Their lucid conversation in Tuscany, the lanes that inhabit it, and the mysterious composition of it all – it’s intriguing and poetic. You never want it to end.

In films, we are so rushed to the climax, to the justification of all those sensations you felt throughout the film. But what this film wants you to do is to sit with those sensations. To stir in that wonder and curiosity that naming things and people usually erases. The walls we build up around people and label them depending upon how they make us feel. Only so that the experiences that contain them we can wrestle with for the remaining of our lives. God forbid we misplace our own identities were we to break down those walls.

Maybe watching a film like Certified Copy isn’t as simple as believing in one possibility. The film would gladly have an ending you want it to have. But in doing so, you would fail to grasp the universe the film inhabits. The language it so boldly wants you to learn; the depth of which no words can completely express. But you’re still holding on to what you can between the words and silences.