Berthold Brecht seeks to move theater away from the conventions of naturalism theatre, in order to let the spectator be more critically involved with the play. One of the important aspects of Brechtian Theatre is that Brecht seeks to remind the audience that they are actually watching a performance. By breaking conventions, such as having the actors speak directly to the audience, Brecht does not let the audience attach to the characters and fully identify themselves with them.
Kiarostami has often used the Brechtian alienation effect to force the audience to remember that they are watching a film. Kiarostami shoots many of the arguing conversation scenes (especially in the restaurant) in Certified Copy where, instead of shooting and editing in the traditional reverse-shot pattern, one actor is present in the frame and looks almost directly into the camera and another actor’s presence is felt from off-screen. It is as if the viewer is participating in the conversation with each character and is looking and addressing them directly. It is through these shots that one feels this is not just a dialogue but also a conversation, which involves the audience. Through using this technique Kiarostami does not let the audience to be simply passive as they are just listening to the couple’s conversation. Instead he raises the audience’s self-awareness of its own position to what they see and what they hear.
Also, there are two scenes, which Kiarostami places the camera where the bathroom mirror would be both James and Binoche look directly at the viewer, representing the self-reflection. What Kiarostami tries to do through this shot is to hold the mirror in front of the viewer to reflect. Kiarostami uses the mirror as a means to create an alienation effect. In fact, he wants the audience to distance themselves from the action and to think critically of the events that is taking place. This is a characteristic trait of Brecht Theatre, which intends to create an active spectator who can revolutionize her or his own critical view on the play rather than leaving the play with a passive sense of cathartic release.
Also the Certified Copies narrative structure, the real identities of the characters and the true nature of their relationship, is an ongoing ambiguity throughout the movie. Through this ambiguity Kiarostami invites the audience to play an active part in the story. In fact, with this type of (ambiguous) narrative form of the film, Kiarostami demands the audience to take up a stance in regard to what they are observing.