'Certified Copy' is a play on reality

Wildaboutmovies.com photoWildaboutmovies.com photoThis week, the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) Guelcher Film Series features a romantic drama that challenges our ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

The film, “The Certified Copy,” plays along the fine line between authenticity and imitation.

“Certified Copy,” a product of the visionary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, is a mentally provocative film that depicts the relationship of a middle-aged couple.

Their story begins when Elle, an antique gallery owner in the Tuscan village of Arezzo, attends the lecture of James Miller, a British author and art historian in the midst of promoting his new book.

James’ scholarly talk about the blurriness between original and forged artistic pieces catches Elle’s attention and prompts her to invite him on a tour of the countryside.

As their roadtrip evolves, they find themselves unintentionally exploring the roles of marriage in response to a café owner who mistakenly assumes they are a romantically involved couple.

Elle and James keep this pretense throughout the day, acting like long-married husband and wife who discuss and dispute ideas about life and art.

Eventually, the audience will be perplexed as to whether they are deliberately play-acting or they are more emotionally involved than they let on.

The cast comprises Juliette Binoche as Elle and William Shimmel as James Miller.

Together this duo brings the “Certified Copy” to intense and full-fledged life.

The Christian Science Monitor says, “What keeps the film from becoming overbearingly arty is its acute psychological insightfulness.

“James and the woman may only know each other for a day but surely married couples, all couples, experience the dislocations these two only pretend to feel – the sense that your partner is a stranger, a co-actor, an impostor, a phantasm.

“They have created a world within a world that is, in the end, for however long it lasts, a certified copy of the original.”

This film shows Wednesday, at 2:15 and 7:15 p.m.

The cost is free to Mercyhurst students with ID.