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While promoting his latest book in Italy, a middle-aged English writer meets a French woman from the art world and sets off to San Gimignano with her.
For more about Certified Copy and the Certified Copy Blu-ray release, see Certified Copy Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carrière
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
» See full cast & crew
Certified Copy Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 28, 2012
Winner of Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's "Copie conforme" a.k.a "Certified Copy" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original theatrical trailer; exclusive video interview with director Abbas Kiarostami; the documentary feature Let's See "Copia conforme"; and director Abbas Kiarostami extremely rare second feature film "Gozaresh" a.k.a "The Report" (1977). The disc also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by film critic Godfrey Cheshire. In French, Italian, and English, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
The film begins with a dull press conference for the Italian translation of James Miller's (William Shimell) latest book. While he utters a series of cliched statements and thanks the translator (Angelo Barbagallo), the camera follows a beautiful middle-aged woman, Elle (Juliette Binoche, The Lovers on the Bridge), who arrives late and immediately begins making signs to a young boy (Adrian Moore) in the opposite corner of the hall. She does not seem impressed by the writer's speech, but one of his comments about original art, copies and life piques her interest. Before she leaves with the boy, Elle gives her business card to the translator. If James has the time, she would love to speak with him.
James visits Elle's antique shop and they decide to take a drive through beautiful Tuscany. In the car they begin a fascinating conversation that somehow transitions from art to relationships and love. Soon it becomes clear that both have been through a lot in their lives and had a fair share of disappointments. In the Tuscan village of Lucignano, they visit a gallery, and then a cozy café. The owner (Gianna Giachetti, Bagnomaria) of the café assumes that Elle and James are married - and for the rest of the day they pretend to be a couple.
Or do they? As the film progresses, Elle and James recall some of the best moments they have shared together during the years. They also argue. Both admit that they have made mistakes that could have easily been avoided. They also agree that they clearly had different expectations from each other.
James appears pessimistic about the future of their relationship. As they observe a happy couple of newlyweds, he casually comments that they are bound to experience many bitter disappointments. It is inevitable.
Elle is not as pessimistic. For her it was all worth it - and it still is. They are older now, and perhaps a bit jaded, but she still needs to be loved. She is still in love with James. Without him her life would have been empty, absolutely pointless. Surely James must feel the same about her.
Before the day is over, Elle and James befriend an older French couple. They give them a valuable advice. After they part ways, the two end up in a small family run hotel, in the same room where years ago they spent an unforgettable night.
Beautiful film, so honest. When Binoche's character looks straight into the camera, one knows exactly what torments her soul. She is still beautiful but life appears to have taken away her ability to inspire the man she loves. There is a short episode in which she puts on her lipstick and a pair of earrings and then walks back into the restaurant where James will have dinner with her. She has made herself beautiful for him, but he does not seem to care. Has he stopped seeing in her what he used to?
Shimell, an opera singer, is shockingly good. His character is a moody, proud man who might have given up on love – or simply realized that he cannot give as much as he used to. He can still love Elle, but he needs time for himself. Does this mean that he is an egoist?
For her performance in Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy last year Binoche won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, but everyone involved with the film should have been recognized. The acting, the direction, the cinematography, and the editing are simply superb.
Certified Copy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The film was shot with 4K RAW using a Red digital camera, and the entire production was completed in a fully digital workflow. The color grading and digital interpositive were approved by director Abbas Kiarostami and director of photography Luca Bigazzi. The final color-corrected DPX files were output to Rec. 709 high-definition color space for BD and DVD release.
Colorist: Nazzareno Neri/Technicolor, Rome."
The screencaptures included with our review appear in the following order:
1. Certified Copy: 1-19.
2. The Report: 21-26.
Quite predictably, Criterion's presentation of Certified Copy, which was shot with the Red One Camera, is enormously impressive. Detail and clarity are magnificent, while colors are notably rich and vibrant yet never looking unnatural. The outdoor sequences, and especially those with plenty of natural light, also convey tremendous depth. There is no problematic flicker. The high-definition transfer is also free of banding patterns. Compression is very good.
I compared selected scenes from Criterion's release with the same scenes from Artificial Eye's release (reviewed here) and could not see any major discrepancies to address in this review. In fact, from what I could tell, it appears that, like Artificial Eye's release, Criterion's release also uses a high-definition transfer that was sourced from the same MK2 master. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Certified Copy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (with portions of Italian and English). For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. There are two options: English subtitles only for the portions of the dialog that are not in English, and English SDH subtitles for the entire film.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The film features a fully digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. The audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD."
Considering the fact that Certified Copy is primarily a dialog-driven feature, the lossless track serves the film exceptionally well. The dialog is clean, stable, and very easy to follow. The various random noises - birds chirping, car noises, bells, etc. - are always very crisp. Also, there are no audio dropouts to report in this review. The English translation is excellent.
Certified Copy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Certified Copy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy appeared on my Top 10 list in 2011 because I loved everything about it - it is witty, thought-provoking, irresistibly romantic, and exceptionally well acted film. Thanks to Criterion, yet again, now Certified Copy is finally available on Blu-ray in North America. If you are yet to add it to your collections, I urge you to consider this release. Not only does the film look and sound terrific, but as a bonus Criterion have also included the Iranian director's extremely rare second feature, The Report. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Certified Copy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion Blu-ray in May: Kassovitz, Jonze, Kiarostami, Bergman - February 16, 2012
After much speculation, the Criterion Collection has posted its full roster of Blu-ray releases for May 2012. Titles include Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine, Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy, and two features from Ingmar Bergman ...
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