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Entries in Certified Copy (5)


RIP Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016)

The world just lost another master artist yesterday, after the recent passing of Michael Cimino and Elie Wiesel. Abbas Kiarostami has passed away after a battle with gastrointestinal cancer.

Kiarostami's blended fiction and non-fiction during his over forty year career in film. One of the most prominent Iranian filmmakers, he had been a mainstay of the Cannes Film Festival, jurying multiple times and winning the Palme d'Or in 1997 for Taste of Cherry. His most recent films Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love ventured out of Iran, but it's his homegrown meditations on death like Cherry and The Wind Will Carry Us are what instantly come to mind on this sad news.

Kiarostami wasn't just a film artist but a poet as well, though poetic language heightened much of his film work. His films were soulfully awake and fiercely personal - Cherry being the brusing and enlightening standout, with Copy's existentialism winning him his newest fans. Just last week, he had been included on the Academy's list of newly invited members. You can catch up with many of his films on Hulu.

What was your favorite Kiarostami film?


Cannes Monologue: Certified Copy

Andrew with another Cannes-themed monologue… 

At 50 Juliette Binoche remains one of the cinema’s finest actors – excellent in multiple languages. Though her time in Godzilla (now playing) is short, we can look forward to much more in Words and Pictures and Cannes entry Clouds of Sils Maris, the latter written specifically for her. Can Olivier Assayas film capture as many of her finest assetts as her Cannes winning turn in Certified Copy (2010)?


Certified Copy, my favourite of the decade (thus far), is remembered most often for its cerebral nature, a puzzle we must solve. Yes, much of it is rumination on theory but it's theory with passion and feeling. For all of its technical and intellectual merit, it’s also a love letter to Binoche from writer/director Abbas Kiarostami. 

Given it’s musings on what’s real and what’s a copy, Elle (Binoche’s character) might not quite qualify as a “real” woman - her name literally translates as “She” – as much as a platform for Kiarostami and Binoche to examine temperaments, hers change at the drop of hat, and ideas. The film makes you work but is all the more rewarding for it. Late in the movie, Elle and James head to quaint restaurant. They are no longer an affable writer and beleaguered fan they were at first but a beleaguered married couple.

She heads to the bathroom to put on lipstick and a pair of earrings. When she returns he doesn’t notice, too annoyed with the subpar wine. She tries to quell his moodiness. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Yes, No, Maybe So: Like Someone in Love

Amir here. The semi-official trailer for Abbas Kiarostami’s new film, Like Someone in Love, was released last week. The internet mostly ignored it, except for a few mentions here and there. Kiarostami might be a world class auteur and Certified Copy may have become an arthouse sensation but it seems like without a recognizable star like Juliette Binoche, enthusiasm for a new film by the Iranian director will just not be as high. With a May premiere on the croisette very likely to be announced in the next few days – with one exception, Kiarostami’s last five films have all opened in Cannes – the film is bound to find more attention coming its way.  If it is indeed included in the festival line-up with a jury presided over by Kiarostami’s friend and past collaborator Nani Moretti, expect plenty of chatter about the film’s chances of netting the director his second Palme d’Or.

That’s all speculation, of course. For now, let’s apply our usual Yes, No, Maybe So to the trailer.

Click to read more ...


Beauty Break: Juliette Binoche

I received a few notes about the new banner delighting that I had accidentally paired The English Patient stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes. I wish I could say "accidentally" but in truth it was! I couldn't find a photo of Juliette Binoche with her fingers in her mouth, but I didn't want to leave her out. File under: Too wonderful to ignore.

If you haven't yet seen her latest acting de triomphe (sorry), save Certified Copy to your DVD queues. Her performance is an inspiration. Hollywood's flirtation with her seems to have ended once they replaced her with a younger model (Hi, Marion) since, you know, only one French actress at a time can be the girl they must cast in every movie but their loss: if anything the 47 year old actress is a stronger screen performer than ever. There's an argument to be made with Flight of the Red Balloon, Summer Hours (previous post) and Certified Copy arriving in such short succcession that that mid 90s career explosion was mere warm up.

More photos [mildly NSFW] after the jump

Click to read more ...


Box Office: "Limitless" Returns, Limited Hits

Yes, yes... we're irregular about box office reportage. It's a Battle New York staying regular-like about these things. Bear with us.  (Updated to reflect tiny adjustments of actual grosses)

top hits of the 600+ screen count club.

01 Limitless $18.9 new
Most reports suggest that this is an "okay" debut in a weak frame despite hitting #1 and having a stronger per screen average by a couple thousand from its closest competitors. Does that mean that Bradley Cooper is only half-fuckable? That he's a walk-of-shame type that you'll feel guilty about afterwards? Or that there were just too many arrogant blonde leading men types fighting for your dollars (#1,#3,#4... it's a blonde multiplex invasion.)
02 Rango $15.0 (cumulative: $92.3)
This'll be the top grosser of 2011 any second now saving us the embarrassment of Just Go With It holding that honor.
03 Battle Los Angeles $14.5 (cumulative: $60.5)
04 The Lincoln Lawyer $13.2 new
05 Paul $13.0 new
06 Red Riding Hood $7.1 (cumulative: $25.8)
07 The Adjustment Bureau $5.7 (cumulative: 48.6)
08 Mars Needs Moms $5.3 (cumulative: $15.4)
09 Beastly $3.1 (cumulative: $22.1)
10 Hall Pass $2.5 (cumulative: $39.5) 

But the "Top o' the Charts" only tell such a small part of each week's stories. How about Jane Eyre and the like..

On less than 600 screens -- not including former wide releases that are on the fade. 

01. Cedar Rapids $.5 (cumulative $5.4 on 462 screens)
02. Jane Eyre $.4 (cumulative $.7 on 26 screens)
Jane and Mr. Rochester are still packing them in big city arthouses, tripling any per screen average within the actual top ten. But when you're playing at so few screens it's still hard to rack up a gross equal to your buzz. Will Focus wait a long time to expand this on lose the buzz? These things are always tricky and the men in capes and tights (i.e. summer season) are right around the corner, generally sucking up every last bit of media oxygen. If so many of last year's Oscar movies can huddle around the $100 million mark, there's no reason why this movie shouldn't be at least a minor hit. We shall see.
03. Of Gods and Men $.2 (cumulative $1.6 on 94 screens)
04. Win Win $.1 new on 5 screens
After The Station Agent and The Visitor, writer/director Thomas McCarthy may well be three for three, critically speaking. Will this drama with Paul Giamatti as a wrestling coach also be as popular as his other movies with specialty crowds. The Station Agent won $5.7 in its US run plus a SAG nomination and The Visitor managed $9.4 million and an Oscar nod for lead actor Richard Jenkins. Thomas McCarthy was Oscar-nominated for co-writing Pixar's Up, but he break out soon in a larger way with so much goodwill behind him?



McCarthy and Binoche in limited release

05. Barney's Version $.1 (cumulative $3.8 on 114 screens)
06. Kill the Irishman $.1 new on 21 screens 
07. Certified Copy $.1 (cumulative $.2 on 23 screens)
Abbas Kiarostami's engaging and provocative two-hander is opening and expanding like a French-language mirror of Jane Eyre though it isn't faring quite as well with only $237,000 so far. Hopefully it'll catch on with sophisticated moviegoers. Cross your fingers that this catches on at least as well as Michael Haneke's Caché which played for months in arthouses and racked up well over 3 million before hitting DVD. I bring up that film, also starring Juliette Binoche (what a filmography she's built) because though they're very very different films each is hugely rewarding: impressive filmmaking, hours of post-movie conversation fodder, and another chance to enjoy Juliette Binoche's mysterious magic and always moving tears. 
08. The Grace Card $.1 (cumulative $2.1 on 114 screens)
09. Biutiful $.09 (cumulative $4.6 on 89 screens)
10. The Music Never Stopped $.08 new on 32 screens

In other words: Whose economy did you support?

I tried to give Kiarostami & Binoche some money but ended up throwing it Verbinski & Depp's way (like they needed it post Pirates) for Rango. Blame the clock.