Taking Kiarostami's bait, several critics have already deemed Certified Copy derivative of many other elliptical romances. The strongest case for an "original" comes of Roberto Rossellini's Voyage to Italy (1954). Rossellini also makes use of his leads' contrasting nationalities and acting styles; the car enclosure is similarly emphasized in both films; and Kiarostami cleverly plays on Ingrid Bergman's emotionally resonant walks through museums and ruins throughout Certified Copy. Of course Voyage to Italy's premise is reversed — a married couple acts as if strangers — but the real difference is that while Rossellini's masterpiece realizes first-person feelings in a third-person approach, Kiarostami stays in the shadow of doubt to the end.
CERTIFIED COPY opens Fri/18 in Bay Area theaters.