BITE sees: Copie Conforme

My favorite kinds of movies (my favorite kind of anything really) are the ones that leave my brain feeling a little boggled at the end, trying to untangle a question of what is true and what isn’t.

Which is why I like movies, however flawed they might be, like Inception and The Matrix and the director’s cut of Blade Runner. Most of the time, this kind of brain bedazzling happens in SciFi type movies where it’s almost expected. What’s bliss to me is when it happens in a not-SciFi movie, in a movie that’s as usual and regular and as far away from a SciFi movie as a movie can be, Groundhog Day say. And no kind of movie can be further away from a SciFi movie than a talky, intelllectual, French movie with subtitles and Juliette Binoche, harried and beautiful.

The plot is simple. In Tuscany, a French woman goes to see a British author give a talk on his latest book, Copie Conforme, a dissertation on reality in art — what is real, what is fake? — his premise being that perhaps all art is, in some ways, a copy, since it is not the real thing but a copy of it. She leaves the lecture early — her pre-teen son needs his hamburger — but she leaves her phone number and offers to show him around before his train back to London. He agrees and they talk, they flirt, they argue. As the day progresses, their relationship becomes less and less clear. Are they two strangers who have just met, play-acting at being a couple, spurred on by someone misinterpreting their relationship? Or, are they a husband and wife who have been married for thirteen years?

Walls and I went to see the movie and we each came away with a different viewpoint. I suppose this says more about our relationship histories than it does about the truth of the movie but I’m curious to take an informal poll. If you saw the movie, which side did you fall on? First date or long-term marriage?

*If this movie wasn’t disconcerting enough, William Shimell, the lead actor, a British opera singer in his first movie role, reminded me of an old boyfriend.

image: Laurent Thurin Nal/MK2

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