My Relationship with a Movie


I saw this movie, Copie Conforme, the other night. I was browsing through netflix trying to find something which I hadn’t seen and actually wanted to watch. The poster caught my eye, but when I read the blurb next to it I groaned a bit. I’m not really a fan of relationship movies, especially those which follow the usual format. Guy bumps in gal, one of them stalks the other one in a romantic comedy way, one of them hates the other, maybe they both dislike each other, but that dislike is actually love in disguise, eventually after a series of misadventures they admit that they are in love and live happily ever after (or until the sequel, if it is a hit).

I almost didn’t make it past the first fifteen minutes. The leading man was an author giving a boring lecture on the academic book he had just published, and the leading lady was being irritating, as was her child whom she had dragged to the lecture and who wanted to leave. I thought that if it got even fractually more irritating I wouldn’t be able to watch it, I wanted to relax not get annoyed at fictional characters. I do sometimes like to yell at the TV, but not that night. I soldiered on, frankly I couldn’t be bothered to reach for the remote, and deal with the fact that I would then have to search for something else to watch.

The movie thankfully changed rhythm and moved away from all the other people, focusing solely upon the leading man and lady. They were strangers brought together by his book, and the leading lady’s desire to argue with the author over some aspects of what he had written. He had a theory and she thought his theory was flawed and wanted to point that out to him. Or at least that was how their interaction began, but it slowly evolved into something surreal, a beautifully acted out reflection of his theory.

“…his new book, titled “Certified Copy”, which argues that, in art, issues of authenticity are irrelevant, because every reproduction is itself an original and even the original is a copy of another form.” via Wikipedia

Miss Marple used to say that if you meet someone new who reminds you of someone whom you already know, the chances are that the two people are very similar. This movie in some ways showed how in relationships, when we interact with someone who reminds us of someone else, the lines get blurred, our mind loses its bearings, and we find ourselves relating to them as being them but also the other person, and perhaps even all the other people we know who are like them.

Past relationships always affect our present ones. Old friends haunt our new ones. New loves become adorned in fragments of old loves.

If we meet a person who is very similar to someone else we know or have known, we may lose the new person in the shadow of the old one, as everything they do and say becomes an echo of everything the other person did and said. Sometimes this makes a relationship seem fated, it radiates with an ethereal light, magic, and mystery. Love at first sight may be recognising an old lost love in a new face. If the previous relationship was good, then all is happily ever after, however if the former relationship was a bad one… darkness descends and permeates the atmosphere, and the new person becomes the vessel through which we confront the things we never faced in the other relationship, and say the things we never said to the other person.

It was one of those movies in which nothing really happens, because everything takes place in the mind of the viewer. It was fascinating in so many ways… And Juliette Binoche was magnificent.