Certified Copy

Certified Copy

Two elements of this film may be considered above exceptional, and possibly, to my mind, plain unique: first, the device of the mirror here is a site of immense formal interpolation and an entirely distinct hermeneutic on its own. As the mode of introspection on the ontology of the ‘original-copy’ — because the mirror’s visuality is only made separable from and oppositional to the reality it reflects by the act of human perception — the mirror is at times a subliminal refraction (like on the car windshield or a glare-filled picture frame) and others a direct confrontation (those two twin shots of each character looking at the mirror-camera). But mostly it is the cinematic stratagem through which we uncover the mutual contingency shared in the existential tension between original and copy; it becomes an icon of that which our characters (especially James, he never even mentions a mirror) tend to neglect. For instance, the most crucial misstep James makes is presuming perception is merely the act of ‘reading.’ It is not only embodied, angular, political, and socially corruptable, but it is most of all experiental and emotional. 

Which brings me to the second unique aspect: the social disruption. This phenomenon is the most important thing about the film; when it occurs, everything shifts. The copies — most pointedly, their relationship — are ruptured with the mark of originality. Additionally, in a sort of mirror/reality connection, at the point of occurence, the disruption distinguishes the life of experience — ‘originalizing’ it — and in turn lived-experience ‘originalizes’ objects (works of art). Thus, we may go back to the origin (haha) and signal the initiating disruption as that work of art, the statue that immobilizes Elle’s son.

I wrote much more on this than I expected, but such is the nature of Kiarostami, right? Anyways, accept those disruptions.

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