Totally Alive Women





Certified Copy, 2010

Not choosing to love makes things harder. And people choose to make things harder all the time. My mom always says, “Don’t be a victim of your character.”

Last week, I taught the film couple (my class is on film as couple, pair, double) Journey to Italy and Certified Copy. We read Laura Mulvey’s essay “Delaying Cinema” from Death 24x Second and Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Mechanical Age of Reproduction. I asked students to think about the way the couple/double, reproduction (copy) and authenticity, work in the films––in relation to gender and in relation to love.

At the end of the class I said, we can reproduce anything. And if everything is a copy, and if, as Kiarostami himself states, “We have to accept the copy and not aim for the authentic ideal. The ideal is an illusion” (a statement I don’t at all agree with), then we can always choose to reproduce love. To copy/replicate instances, gestures, and acts of love over and over. To keep the original alive through the copy. But James, who argues for the right/acceptance of the copy—–not the original—–in the end boils everything down to cliches of time. He priveleges the early (original) encounter between couples. After 15 years, he insists, love fades; love dies in the “garden of leaflessness.” As usual, he is a man who has no idea what he really thinks, wants, or believes. Even in the presence of a totally alive, amazing woman (women have always known how to be copies and masquerades). And yet he wants to exist in the world as a vehicle of knowledge.

Crossposted with Love Dog.

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