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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Certified Copy [Blu-ray]

 

(Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: MK2 Productions

Video: Artificial Eye Film Company / Criterion Collection - Spine # 612

 

Disc:

AE: Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Criterion is Region 'A'-locked

Runtime: 1:46:27.381 / 1:46:49.444

Disc Size: 23,343,761,749 bytes / 46,250,265,781 bytes

Feature Size: 19,362,871,296 bytes / 25,915,410,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps / 26.72 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: January 17th, 2011 / May 22nd, 2012

 

Video: (same for both)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French | Italian | English 3925 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3925 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio French | Italian | English 3896 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3896 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none (English, English - SDH, none)

 

Extras:

• The Making of Certified Copy (0:52:02)

Trailer (1:59)

 

• The rarely seen 1977 Kiarostami film The Report, which deals with similar themes (1:49:29)
• New interview with director Abbas Kiarostami (16:02)
• Let’s See “Copia conforme,” an Italian documentary on the making of Certified Copy, featuring interviews with Kiarostami and actors Juliette Binoche and William Shimell (52:05)
• Trailer (2:14)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Godfrey Cheshire

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Description: From acclaimed director Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us) comes the story of a couple's apparent chance meeting in beautiful Tuscany. He (William Shimell) is a British author in town to talk about his new book. She (Juliette Binoche) is a French gallery owner in search of originality. Together they tour the local galleries, cafes and museums and discover that nothing is quite what it seems and truth, like art, is always open to interpretation. A captivating film, Certified Copy marries post-modern reality games with mature romantic comedy in a single playful and provocative package.

 

 

The Film:

After a decade's worth of experiments with video (Ten, Five Dedicated to Ozu, Shirin, etc.), the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami returns to the commercial fold, and this time with a genuine international movie star, Juliette Binoche, helping out (she also appeared briefly in Shirin). Theoretically, this could be Kiarostami's "selling out" or else his most accessible movie to date, but instead it's one of his most deliriously puzzling. Most viewers -- especially those that demand answers from their movies -- will walk away not knowing what to make of it. But if you allow more than one possibility to this scenario, it emerges as a masterpiece, and Kiarostami's best film since The Wind Will Carry Us (1999).

It starts out with an actual narrative story. English author James Miller (played by opera baritone William Shimell) is in Italy hocking his new book Certified Copy, which is ostensibly an argument about how copies are as good as the real thing; it allows people to enjoy the beauty of an artwork without the trouble of the "original" getting in the way. It also questions the very concept of "original." While he speaks about his book to an appreciative audience, an unnamed woman (Juliette Binoche) turns up. She makes a bit of a fuss trying to tame her restless son and whispering to the book's Italian translator.

Excerpt from Jeffrey Anderson at Combustible Celluloid located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

As predictable from Artificial Eye - we get a competent, un-manipulated transfer.  This is on a single-layered Blu-ray with the 1 3/4 hour film taking up nearly 20 Gig of space. Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy was shot with the digital Red One Camera with a printed film format of 35 mm. Digitally shot productions usually show the limitations of that format but I didn't note too many here aside from some, predictable, glossiness throughout and noise in the final darker sequences. The Blu-ray never appeared blocky to me. I'd say the most prominent improvements over SD would be in the detail readily visible Luca Bigazzi cinematography of cobblestone-laden Tuscany and occasional close/medium shots of faces in conversation. Despite not being particularly visually varied - Certified Copy still has impressive moments. I thought I'd heard there was a French Blu-ray of this film in existence but this, presently, appears to be the only one. It supported a fine presentation in 1080P. I have a feeling Certified Copy will be quite a memorable film experience for me.

 

Criterion jumps a head technically with a strong transfer - dual layered with a notably higher bitrate and this translates to a slightly darker more robust image with richer black levels and bolder colors. Skin tones are somewhat warmer. Other than that I wouldn't say there was much strong differences except in side-by-side comparison. I think it looks very good - probably more accurate to the theatrical but I don't know from personal experience. Contrast may be slightly more layered and the US Blu-ray gave me a fine presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Audio :

Outside of conversation - audio is relatively a non-issue in Certified Copy. This is not to say it is not important or meticulously exported by the filmmakers. We get a lossless DTS-HD Master in tri-language's - offered in 5.1 Surround at a strong 3925 kbps. There are some moments of minor separations but mostly the front channel is the workhorse. What I like are the subtleties that help build the film's more clandestine auras - there are some prosaic silences in Certified Copy and this is only accentuated by the crispness when there is something heard. There are language switches often on the film (Italian, French and English) and AE's subtitles are optional for the non-English speaking dialogue. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

My ears couldn't detect any difference in the DTS-HD Master tracks - still, very strong -essentially flawless supporting the film accurately with few separations and clear, Italian, French or English, dialogue. The Criterion Blu-ray is, predictably, region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

The Making of Certified Copy runs 52-minutes and is a good piece - coming from France with English subtitles. It has input from many of the key players involved in production including Kiarostami and Binoche. Fans of the director may find some keen information here - he is always so impressive as a filmmaker discussing his work - and this opinion is supported by those in the documentary. There is also a 2:00 trailer.

 

The rarely seen 1977 Kiarostami film The Report, Abbas Kiarostami's second feature, was encoded from the only surviving elements that Criterion were able to find; an old analog master made from a subtitled theatrical print that was damaged from heavy use According to Kiarostami, the original negative was destroyed during the Islamic Revolution. It runs 1-hour-49-minutes in 1080P and deals with similar themes to Certified Copy. There is also a new, 2012, interview with Kiarostami recorded in Paris - it runs 16-minutes and has English subtitles. We also get the same Making of...Copia conforme,” as found on the Artificial Eye disc - the 52-minute Italian documentary (in 1080i) on the making of Certified Copy, featuring interviews with Kiarostami and actors Juliette Binoche and William Shimell. There is an HD trailer and a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Godfrey Cheshire.

 

Artificial Eye - Region: FREE Blu-ray LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I liked Certified Copy - the film is carried by Binoche who seems to control the tempo through her emotions - her gaze and volume of her speech. Fans will note a conspicuous Jean-Claude Carrière weaved into the scenario for a brief appearance. It might sound insulting to say that Kiarostami has 'returned to form' but this is easily more accessible than some of his other work and Binoche ('Best Actress' award at Cannes this year for this film!) is much of the movie - actually, the two of them make a great combination. I hope they work again (a 3rd time as Binoche was one of the many cinema-attending faces in Shirin). I'm glad I saw this on Blu-ray as the best manner of seeing outside of a festival (I don't believe it came to TIFF). There is a lot of beauty in Certified Copy and it was a pleasure to see - Binoche in particular is worth the price of admission.

 

Criterion's most glaring advancement over the AE is in the extras and while the quality of The Report is poor - it is great just to see Kiarostami's second feature film. It is nice to also have the new interview and the liner notes booklet. Certified Copy, like most films by this Iranian director, tend to resonate deeply upon re-visitation. This remains warm, human and rich with subtleties. The Criterion is a super package for those that don't yet own the AE. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 26th, 2010

May 2nd, 2012

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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