Abbas Kiarostami has made a career out of towing the lines between fact and fiction, but in "Certified Copy," his first film made outside of his native Iran, he plays around with reality in more ways than one. He follows a man and a woman (the latter played by art-house legend Juliette Binoche) as they spend the day strolling through Italy, conversing on topics ranging from his book to the destructive nature of relationships. The riddle emerges over time: when the film starts, the two are strangers, and by the end of the day they behave like a long-married couple. Kiarostami’s question is pretentious yet honest: what is real?
But Kiarostami’s true talent, outside of his career-long journey to erase the lines between real and fake, is in his compositions, and this Blu-ray brings them to life with startling detail. Many of the shots here, like one of a young bride unexplainably weeping under a beautiful statue, have lingered in my mind since the moment I saw this film a year ago. It’s visual beauty, if it can’t be appreciated in a theater, it really needs to be seen in crystal clear high definition.
The Criterion Collection, as always, have released "Certified Copy" to Blu-ray in an incomparable package. In addition to the picture perfect quality, you get Kiarostami’s rarely seen short feature film "The Report" (which is good enough to warrant a write-up of its own,) an interview with Kiarostami, and a documentary on the making of the film, in addition to the standard trailers and essays. While some may scoff at its similarity to works of European cinema (or, most often, to "Before Sunrise") but I stand by this "Copy": Kiarostami, as always, has taken that which is typical and twisted it into something wholly unique.