"Certified Copy" operates almost in reverse of most thematically inclined works of art, which plunge us into a falsely desultory universe and gradually reveal their master interpretive passkey. Kiarostami's film presents a concept, fully formed and cogent, and allows the rest of the film to set to work on that concept, breaking it into Heisenbergian particles, then bringing it back into solid shape, and on and on."Oh boy. I was this close, too. Personally, I think it's inconsiderate to write about films like this, particularly if you profess to be a lover of cinema. It's a question of perspective. Even the sternest critic of 127 Hours didn't try to make out that it was 90 minutes of tendon-severing and gristle-gouging. They emphasised the more appetising aspects of the production — James Franco's performance, the cinematography, the song by Dido — and weighed the good with the bad. As John Updike once said of a critic — and I paraphrase — "what you say is true, but is it all that can be said of my work?" I'm not asking the critics to lie. If the metafictional stuff is in there, then it's in there and there's nothing can be done about it. But to keep harping on it like this is unhelpful. It reminds me of the time I met a friend for dinner, only to see her get out of the cab wearing a truly awful hat — the kind of hat that draws all the attention in a room without rewarding it. I could see her walking towards me, and all I could think was "what a terrible hat, what a terrible hat". The first words out of my mouth? "What a lovely hat." Nobody was well-served by that comment. What I should have done, of course, is asked her whether she had difficulty finding the restaurant and moved swiftly on.
Mar 19, 2011
Back to square one on Certified Copy
Sheesh. People are making it so hard. I'd almost convinced myself to go see Certified Copy, after the Siren helped me recover from Richard Brody's endorsement. According to Brody the film "embraces the viewer in the reality of the fiction... as if submitting it to viewers for open discussion" but apparently it wasn't that bad, and even had a couple of good jokes, said the Siren. I was fully prepared to eat a hearty breakfast, brush up on my Dubord and trot along to the Angelika to immerse myself in it's Escherian splendor. And then this, from MUBI's Michael Sicinsky:—