Wednesday, September 22, 2010
NYFF PREVIEW - CERTIFIED COPY
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Photo credit: Laurent Thurin Nal
An IFC Films release
Certified Copy is a well acted, two character, , romantic drama taking place over a day or so, about a French woman (who owns an art gallery in Italy) and an English art critic and author, who meet after he gives a talk in the village where she lives.
Certified Copy was directed by Abbas Kiarostami. The woman, Elle, is played by Juliette Binoche, a role for which she won the Best Actress Award at Cannes 2010. The man, James Miller, is played by William Shimell (a British opera singer).
The genre is one I have some reservations about (though it's a terrific example of the genre): it's the "The characters know what they are talking about, you figure it out," suspense genre, where some tension comes from the shifting relationships of the characters, and more tension comes from trying to understand WTF is going on: what kind of backstory, what kind of relationship, what kind of people make the dialog make sense.
I think I figured it out, a day or so after watching the film. Here's my theory:
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YOU ARE WARNED!
DO NOT READ ON UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM!
The man and woman had a one night (or very brief) affair 15 years ago, during which her son was conceived.
The son does not know the man is his father.
They may have spent the previous night together (or not).
Five years ago, running into the woman and her son at the statue of David inspired the man to write the book he is now lecturing on. (He did not talk to them then; perhaps they saw him, perhaps they did not.)
They are not married, or even together. She pretends they are married. She does so enthusiastically; he goes along sporadically and grudgingly; sometimes speaking true things about the relationship ("our son") without necessarily pretending they are married.
She wants to get back together with him. He does not want to get back together at all.