Blu-ray Review: Complete Criterion Edition of Amazing ‘Certified Copy’

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CHICAGO – Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy” should have made my top ten last year. Every year, there’s a movie or two that I realize halfway through the next year that I didn’t praise to the right degree. Just a year later, “Certified Copy,” recently released in resplendent Criterion Blu-ray and DVD editions, feels even more like a monumental work, a brilliant filmmaking exercise that features spectacular performances, beautiful writing, and some of the most interesting thematic work of the last several years. With great special features, this is a perfect addition to the Criterion Collection. Blu-ray rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

“Certified Copy” is the kind of beautiful film that one swirls around in their mind like a great sip from a wine glass. Even months later, I’m thinking about its themes, its structure, and its unique presentation of a couple (beautifully played by Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell) who may or may not be strangers. What’s perhaps most remarkable about the Criterion release is that it offered me yet another take on the film in a great interview with Kiarostami (it’s not a game that this couple is playing but a film about one couple at two different stages in its existence…the first half is when they meet and the second half is fifteen years later).

Certified Copy was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2012
Certified Copy was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2012
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

The special features for “Certified Copy” are some of the most remarkable of 2012’s Criterion releases. There’s the aforementioned interview and a great documentary about the making of the film but perhaps the most notable inclusion is Kiarostami’s second film, 1977’s “The Report,” included in its entirety. The first print of the film was reportedly destroyed during the Iranian Revolution and it could have easily been lost to history as so many great works have been over the years. Criterion found a second print, badly battered but salvageable, and did what they could to restore it. The result is definitely low quality in terms of transfer but the fact is that the film would likely never be seen again if not for this amazing company.

Certified Copy was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2012
Certified Copy was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2012
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

“Certified Copy” is a tough movie to describe. Some have compared it to Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” films and there is something to that given the way it centers on two people and the way their verbal wordplay defines the “plot” of the film. However, “CC” is its own, unique creation, and it’s a film that only gets stronger in memory. One of the best films of 2011 is one of the best Criterion Blu-rays of 2012.

The great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami travels to Tuscany for a luminous and provocative romance in which nothing is as it appears. What seems at first to be a straightforward tale of two people - played by Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell - getting to know each other over the course of an afternoon gradually reveals itself as something richer, stranger, and trickier: a mind-bending reflection on authenticity, in art as well as in relationships. Both cerebrally and emotionally engaging, Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) reminds us that love itself is an enigma.

Special Features:
o Director Abbas Kiarostami’s Rarely Seen 1977 Film The Report, Which Deals With Similar Themes
o New Interview With Kiarostami
o Let’s See Copia Conforme, An Italian Documentary On The Making Of Certified Copy, Featuring Interviews With Kiarostami and Actors Juliette Binoche and William Shimell
o Trailer
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Film Critic Godfrey Cheshire

“Certified Copy” was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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