Sunday, November 11, 2012

Copie Conforme

Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian filmmaker, and Juliette Binoche, the French movie star, photographed together in Tuscany while they were making Copie Conforme in 2009. It opened at Cannes in 2010.

For me to see a film only two years after it came out is moving quickly, but I had a special reason for wanting to see this one and to be honest it wasn't because I knew Juliette Binoche had won Best Actress at Cannes for her role. It was because I knew Alber Elbaz at Lanvin had designed her film wardrobe.

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian called the film "the work of a highly intelligent and observant space alien who still has not quite grasped how Earthlings actually relate to each other." Apparently Peter Bradshaw regarded this viewpoint as a disadvantage, giving the film only two stars out of five, but I would have taken his assessment for praise if I hadn't been told that it wasn't. In fact, I initially read it as a conscious paraphrase of E.M. Forster's famous description (written back in 1919) of the poet Cavafy – “a Greek gentleman in a straw hat, standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe.”  Both phrases express the essential unsatisfactoriness of human relations and the sheer oddness of the artistic process that turns this perpetual source of disappointment into a durable, impersonal source of consolation.