DVD review: 'Certified Copy' looks at a mysterious relationship
William Shimell and Juliette Binoche in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's 'Certified Copy.' (Courtesy of the Criterion Collection / May 18, 2012)
Juliette Binoche plays a nameless character who seeks a meeting with author James Miller (William Shimmel, an opera singer making his film debut), who is visiting Tuscany for a reading. She is French, a single mother, raising her adolescent son in Italy; Miller is a Brit. As they stroll through a small town, their flirting and apparent intimacy makes bystanders assume they are married, a masquerade they then take up. Or, we begin to wonder, is it a masquerade?
The Criterion edition looks pristine. The extras include a 16-minute interview with Kiarostami, conducted in Iranian this year and subtitled in English; and a 50-minute “making of” that includes interviews with the director and his stars, as well as the cinematographer, producer, and other principals. Kiarostami mentions some similarities between “Certified Copy” and his 1979 feature, “The Report,” which only exists in one battered, scratchy print. Criterion has nonetheless included this nearly two-hour feature as a bonus (and he wasn't kidding about the condition of it). It has some thematic elements in common with “Certified Copy,” though the technical level and style seem crude in comparison.
"Certified Copy" (Criterion, Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD $29.95)