James’s review published on Letterboxd:
Abbas Kiarostami brings his divisive and confounding filmmaking to European arthouse. I adore Close-Up yet found Taste of Cherry absolutely infuriating but could appreciate its merits. Certified Copy, to me, was much more fulfilling even though it does end on an unsatisfying note. It even has Juliette Binoche in it. (is European arthouse even possible without her?)
This is his take on Rossellini's Journey to Italy or Linklater's Before trilogy but with a bizarre and intentional ambiguity more in tune with an existential Antonioni work like L'Aventurra. His incredibly direct and simplistic style captures the beauty of the Tuscan landscape which lends it a much lighter tone than his Iranian output but never serves as a distraction.
He dissects the relationship and continues to explore the idea of what genuineness and originality actually mean whilst simultaneously pushing the creative limits of what cinema can do. The relationship depicted is seemingly a false one, within a movie, which is also not real, yet it feels genuine to us and stimulates real emotions. The lengthy philosophical dialogue is meaty and gives us plenty to ruminate on as the story unfolds.
Ever the provocateur, he lets us form our own interpretation and ideas from the film, rather than guiding us through it. I'm sure I missed numerous details that would be easier to spot a second time round.