Archive for June 26th, 2013


© 2013 by James Clark

After accompanying Terrence Malick in that magisterial conjuring of epidemic self-torment titled, To the Wonder, I think it is apt that we return to Abbas Kiarostami, this time by way of his 2010 film, Certified Copy, to temper the perspective of millennial reverie with some close-up nastiness requiring emergency attention. Kiarostami functions, it seems to me, within the métier of elementally consequential films, in a notably uncrowded middle ground between Malick’s world of cosmic light years and that frequently shattered domain—staked out by the likes of Lynch, Tarantino, von Trier, the Coens, Wong Kar Wai, Haneke et al—where one sees no point in conveying all the news that’s fit to print in any other register than blood. Viewers have twigged on to the sharp and agonizing pitfalls of the film in question here, by groping toward possible inspiration by practitioners of isolation, like Antonioni, and even the Rossellini of Voyage to Italy; but, although there are three glimpses of Antonioni which are quite indispensable, the real locator, for its fixation upon perfidy, is Robert Bresson and, particularly, his 1969 film, Une Femme Douce (A Gentle Woman), the bloody suicide of the distraught female lead at the outset (setting off a flashback) helping to cue up the combative course of Kiarostami’s echoing film. As such, the critical bid to palm off the occasionally (but stressfully) amusing Certified Copy as a twenty-first century upgrade of a Mid-Century bourgeois travel comedy is far from efficient. No one gets literally slaughtered here. But make no mistake; the “cruel war” remarked by tenuously speculative Marina, in To the Wonder, comes right into our face and never stops, within Kiarostami’s phenomenology of the early days of a now overt and irrevocable war. (more…)

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