The Double Life of Veronique (1991) Poster

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9/10
the great puppeteer
dromasca7 October 2017
Seeing the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski is a special experience, now, more than two decades since he stopped making films, and died soon after. The Polish director's relative short life (he died at the age of 54) and career (less than two decades) is now turning into legend. Each of his films shows the quality and the emotion of a true master of the cinema. "The Double Life of Veronique" (or "La double vie de Véronique" in French) is one of his best known movies, made at the peak of his cinema career, between the Decalogue and the Three Colors trilogy. Somehow I missed it at release. Now, in the perspective of the life and death of the director, not only that it stays as a remarkable piece of cinema but it is enriched with new significance.

Fate and identity are the two big topics of this film. Have you ever had the feeling that you are not alone or even unique in the Universe, that somewhere or maybe in some other time, a parallel destiny is shared with yours? Did you ever feel like your life is not the result of your own decisions, that higher forces manipulate you life, same as a puppeteer controls his marionettes? If you ever felt something like this or if you can understand or imagine such feelings, this story of two young women, living in two different parts of Europe, sharing talents, feelings and fate without their lives ever intersecting for more than a few seconds, this story should not seem strange at all.

Beautiful films (and books, and paintings, and musical works) have complex layers of meanings and a multitude of details that are revealed to the viewer, reader, listener. This is exactly the case with "La double vie de Véronique". One can use multiple keys to read the story. There is a political reading about the parallel destinies of the two women who are born and live on the two sides of the curtain that divided Europe and was just falling down by the time the film was made. There is a philosophical reading about destiny and about the controllers of the destiny (the puppeteer, the writer who creates characters and write about their destinies). There is a religious reading with multiple symbols that ask to be examined from the name of the main character to the music that is sung and played during the film.

Each of the scenes includes details that support the multiple stories and have their place in it, in some cases relating to other scenes in the peer story. The only exception was the secondary thread about presumptive perjury by the French Veronique whose sense I could not decipher. Music plays an important role, as the two women are musicians, they sing and teach music that reflects their relation with fate and God. So does light, which is in some cases maneuvered by the characters. The mirrors also show up in many scenes, sometimes as a reflection of the self, in other cases as a gate to the other side, as in Lewis Carroll's stories. Shades and mysteries follow the characters and the viewers at any corner and in any moment.

Kieslowski's mastering of the art of cinema is matched by the superb acting of Irène Jacob. She is strange and beautiful, sensitive and expressive. I can also wonder why her star paled after Kieslowski stopped making films, and why other film directors could not make better use of her beauty and talent. She is part of the same generation of French and French-speaking actresses as Juliette Binoche for example, but their post 1995 careers were so different. What a pity.

I am happy to have discovered "La double vie de Véronique", even if so late. It's a film to see and see again.
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Like an album with beautiful pictures
cmp_gr5 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
*Possible minor spoilers*

Hasn't ever happened that you browse an album with beautiful pictures pleasing your eyes, hearing at the same time beautiful music pleasing your ears and your soul? That's the way I saw this film. It is evident that it is entirely dedicated to Iréne Jacob's beauty, who gives a very good performance, perhaps one of her best, if not the best. And she is beautiful indeed! Zbignew Preisner's music excellently rendered by Elzbieta Towarnicka's voice, completes the beautiful images, by pleasing your ears and your soul. That's all. Do not expect any story, because there isn't any. The film is about two women, the French Véronique living in France and the Polish Weronika living in Kraków, Poland. They look alike like twins, like two drops of water. Véronique seems to feel Weronika, like it often happens with twins, however, they are not. Krzysztof Kieslowski's direction is excellent, perfectly rendering this poem of spectacle and hearing.
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10/10
Like a Colorful Dream...!!
Sameir Ali25 February 2017
Krzysztof Kieslowski is a director who mesmerized the world audience with his last film; Color Trilogy. This movie was done before the trilogy.

What if there a person in another part of the world, just like you and have a similar name too. The coincidence was not limited to this, but the feelings were also connected. These two persons are completely strangers!.

Beautiful Irène Jacob has done her best in the film. The director creates a magical world of colors and imagination in the movie. A beautiful visual treat. Cinematography is amazing supported by the magical music.

A definitely must watch. #KiduMovie
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9/10
The mesmerising lives of Weronika and Veronique
TheLittleSongbird9 February 2017
Having loved Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colours Trilogy", especially 'Three Colours: Red', those films made me interested in seeing more his work, with 'The Double Life of Veronique' and 'Dekalog' being particularly highly recommended.

While not quite as good as the "Three Colours Trilogy" (or at least as good as 'Blue' and 'Red', it's about on par with 'White'), 'The Double Life of Veronique' is at its best mesmerising. It is somewhat slight narratively, not as thematically rich as for example 'Red' and Weronika is a slightly more interesting character than Veronique, with a slightly longer length Veronique could have had a little more development than she did.

This is in no way denouncing 'The Double Life of Veronique's' quality, because so much works. It is stunning visually, the very stylised but often gorgeously jaw-dropping cinematography is innovative in its use of colour and camera filters to enhance the ethereal atmosphere created. The music is every bit as hauntingly intricate and symbolic as the score in 'Three Colours: Blue', and is like a fascinating major character in itself, the use of it is inspired too.

Kieslowski's direction is assured, thought-provoking and unobtrusive, his style is distinctive and unmistakable and there are many great visual and dramatic touches that help keep the viewer fascinated. The film is very intelligently and poetically written, while the story makes the most of its ingenious concept through heavy but thought-provoking if initially perplexing use of symbolism and an atmosphere that's ethereal, hypnotic, poetic and haunting. There are many powerful and moving moments here.

Irene Jacob mesmerises in her luminously sensitive dual performance, where she shows great emotional range with two completely contrasting characters. Her Best Actress award at Cannes was more than richly deserved.

Overall, slight but intelligent, beautiful and mesmerising, the cinematography, music and Jacob being the three main reasons for seeing it. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
"The double life of Véronique" is visually meticulous, sensitive and whose originality has lost none of its superbness
losindiscretoscine29 January 2017
Released in 1991, "The double life of Véronique" helped Irène Jacob to forge her career as she won the Cannes Festival Best Actress Award thanks to her double role as Weronika and Véronique. The strength of the film lies in this omnipresent connection between the two women that look alike, feel each other's emotions and yet they have never met. Krzysztof Kieślowski, that tragically passed away five years later, created this masterpiece that marked his career : a wise mix of poetry, whose plot oscillates between dream and reality. The silences, the palpable emotions, the almost-buried memories, the constant distress feed this synergy between the two women. The whole movie excels thanks to the puppets' play, a real metaphor of the connection between the women. The yellowish photography, sometimes flirting with a well-polished sepia, enhances the emotions and the actor's glances. "The double life of Véronique" is visually meticulous, sensitive and whose originality has lost none of its superbness since its released. Full review on our blog Los Indiscretos : https://losindiscretos.org
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9/10
Splendid double life expertly explored.
Pierre_D19 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It had been a bear finding a properly subtitled version of this film, until the wonders of YouTube finally helped our cause. Irène Jacob's immeasurably understated grace and beauty permeate this film, from the first moments in Krakow where she elevates her voice to angelic proportions, to the second half where she tries to connect with herself in another way.

Quickly put, we see two aspects of the same life and experience. Weronika in Poland, a radiant singer with little training but an apparent divine gift, enjoying life with full vigour and finally reaching the dream of become a stage presence, only to be seized from our world by the maker above. It seems unjust, but perhaps she had an inkling of trouble when she spotted her double on a bus slightly before, a jarring experience that nonetheless made her keep her focus.

On the other side, in France, we find Véronique, who suddenly abandons singing to teach music to children. She finds herself intrigued by a puppeteer who strikes a cord within her with his marionette show, and slowly comes the realization that she is half of a now incomplete whole.

Kieslowsky's brilliance shines in this movie. As we'll see later in his seminal Three Colors, he uses closeups of mundane items to represent stages of reflection or worry. In "Bleu" it is a sugar cube dissolving in Julie's coffee while here we see a teabag immersing itself, emptying its flavour in hot water and thus ridding itself of its duties. Kryztof also perfectly captures Poland in revolutionary moments and the imperilled safety of one individual.

Weronika goes from the ecstasy of singing to that of physical ardour to apotheosis whilst her French counterpart regresses from singing to teaching to fleeing to finding, and finally understanding. Jacob is near perfect here, hitting all the right emotive notes. Her almost radiant happiness as she sings hymns at the start, during a torrential downpour, is an unforgettable moment. Her grief at finding herself in the final scenes is also palpable, a bravura performance for the actress.

A fine film, deep in starting blocks for other movies from this director, The Double Life of Véronique is a must for anyone who has led more than one life or feels connected to others.
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10/10
Mesmerizing.
allyatherton31 October 2015
Starring Irene Jacob

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski

Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz

Imagine if each of us is matched somewhere in the world,

by our exact double -

someone to share our thoughts and dreams.

I loved this one. It is quirky, different and beautifully shot.

There are no car chases or murderers on the run, just a wonderfully crafted and mesmerizing movie. It's a work of art as much as it is a movie and it had me glued to the screen. This was right up my alley, it's just the kind of oddball, quirky thing that I enjoy.

Brilliantly acted by Irene Jacob and she is incredibly beautiful as well. I can't praise this enough. I must watch more foreign movies, especially directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Mesmerizing

10/10
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10/10
at times a confounding experience, but one I hope to revisit, for Irene Jacob and the direction
MisterWhiplash14 October 2015
The Criterion DVD for The Double Life of Veronique includes many of the bells and whistles when it comes to special features, not to mention a long, in-depth interview with the director, Kieslowski. Maybe I'll watch that some time soon, but not right after watching this film. I could go looking for some easy answers - if there are any, which I doubt anyway - but I'd rather stay for now in a moment where I can just ponder everything I watched. It's such a rich and moving experience, and is one of the most unique mystery films I've seen in a very long time - possibly ever.

In a way its chief mystery is what it's all about, which remains, possibly, elusive even to the end. Of course we have an idea of the concrete fact that there were two babies born on the same day in different countries, France and Poland, and they grew up to be beautiful young women with dark hair and brown eyes, and looked exactly the same. There's also a moment where the two see each other (one sees the other on a tour bus in Krakow, this in the midst of a protest/riot in the streets, and yet this other woman on the bus won't see her, at least not yet). Will they try to look for one another is a key question.

But Kieslowski is so not interested in anything conventional here. The mystery is about discovering things, but not necessarily the deeper mystery of one knowing for sure the other exists; in other words, this isn't one of those double movies like, say, The Double (2014). We really get two stories here of these women, and they're full-on character portraits: the first half hour is dedicated to Weronique, the Polish woman, who is a professional singer (and former piano player) who has a heart condition. The rest of the film focuses on Veronique, who is a music teacher and, after seeing a puppet show performed by a charismatic man named Antoine (or is it Alexandre, one of those), he starts to... stalk her? Follow her in an intriguing way? Certainly he leaves clues for her to find, and when she does... then what?

I'd like to make note for a moment music in the film. I don't think it's some flippant "artsy" choice on the filmmaker's part that each of these people are involved with music. Music is so central to the film, especially when Weronique is singing and becomes her most vulnerable, but also in those moments (on the flip-side image, so to speak) where Veronique isn't paying as close attention to the music she's teaching her students. Notice the opera that Weronique sings comes back more than once, like when Veronique is watching the marionette show. There is significance there, and it may be rooted back into that realm that music can lie with every person - like romance, which this film has, you can't always use the utmost logic ('the heart wants what it wants' so to speak) so why a music moves one person won't necessarily be the same for another. Why is music so paramount for Weronique, while for Veronique it doesn't seem so? Or, is music one of the things that connects them in that elusive, deep-deep down inside sense that they both have? Or maybe they're latent Jedis or something (I kid).

How this is all filmed is completely absorbing; Kieslowski uses hand-held camera-work, but in a steady way that often creates tension, like when the two Veroniques are walking out in public (i.e., French side after she leaves her rendezvous with this not-so-mystery man and tries to go through crowded streets, and the Polish side after a rehearsal, where her heart becomes weak and she stumbles to catch her breath). How he uses color is especially breathtaking as well, and not always in ways that forces it but suggests things - red filters and bright whites and yellows here and there (not as blatant as the Colors trilogy, but maybe this was a practice round). So even when things get so enigmatic that it could, in just a few moments, become pretentious, Kieslowski reels it back in and makes the direction vital and important in ways that are unexpected. The camera itself is often another character, which is impressive.

I've come all this way and haven't noted that without Irene Jacob this might all not work, or at least as well. There may be a moment here and there where it doesn't seem like she's doing much - she's so beautiful (on the cover I thought for a moment it was Ingrid Bergman with her eyes closed) that one might underestimate how deep and powerful she gets into both these women. The vulnerability is what's so staggering, and how much she feels the moments of joy and wonder, how her face registers genuine curiosity and in seeking out this mystery, and that crucial scene at the café when this Frenchman is revealed, notice how her face changes - it's subtle, but it's really there. I could watch Irene Jacob in this film or Red and see an actress so in tune with the character(s) that she in a way does half the work for Kieslowski. In other words, even when I was wondering, more than once, 'this storyline, such as it is, is getting a little weird and quixotic, maybe for its own good', she really grounded me in the emotional logic, and the pathos becomes so much that it makes something like a scene near the end this mix of heartbreak and bewilderment that I've rarely seen like this in a film.

It's at times confounding, in certain choices and moments, but never in ways that might alienate; Kieslowski asks the audience 'come, a little closer - find out more about these women, and whatever the outcome, the journey is genuine and interesting.'
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6/10
fine art-house film of sadness
SnoopyStyle27 August 2015
Weronika and Véronique are two unrelated connected lives. Weronika (Irène Jacob) is a singer in small town Poland. She gets an audition for a choir. Then she sees french tourist Véronique (Irène Jacob) taking pictures. Weronika collapses and dies in her first performance. Véronique feels the lost and quits singing.

There is a pervasive saddest throughout the movie. The film is drained of bright colors. Weronika's life is the first 30 minutes and the rest is Véronique dealing with a lost that she can't fully comprehend. Irène Jacob is a beauty. She has a great dreamlike quality. However the two characters don't have enough separations. It's a fine art-house film of sadness.
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Hard to describe, much harder to shake off.
sean7326732612 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Double Life of Veronique" very much lies in that grey area of cinema where nothing quite makes sense, but everything does seem to all connect together on some strange, indecipherable level. A famous example of this is "Mullholland Drive" - nobody has ever really been able to give a straight forward solution as to what the film is about, but it's still a very affecting piece of work, and the main comparison I had in my head while watching this film.

This is a completely different movie, though, and what it achieves is much more impressive in my eyes. The plot couldn't be a whole load simpler; two women, identical in looks, age, and name, lead parallel lives - one in France, one in Poland. One day, one of our heroines catches a glimpse of the other by chance, seemingly setting in motion a chain of events I won't describe, lest I spoil it for everyone. Needless to say, it's an outlandish plot, but Kielowski wisely doesn't question this.

Instead of focusing on its plot, it instead focuses on nailing down the eerie atmosphere that permeates nearly every scene - a strategy that absolutely pays off. Very few films out of the horror genre manage to capture such an atmosphere and it's staggeringly impressive, thanks in no small part Iréne Jacob - an actress who by now is slightly forgotten, but has given performances that would be career-best for many Hollywood stars. This is definitely one of them, capturing a wide-eyed innocence and strength that few actresses ever manage.

A lot of thought is given to what this film means. It's a fair question, but as I mulled it over in my head afterwards, I realized it's not really the point. The film itself is the one searching for the meaning, and while it has no answers, its questions are much more engaging. My interpretation is that Kielowski is asking whether or not we aren't actually as alone as we like to think we are sometimes - that there are forces, far beyond our comprehension, pulling strings and making things happen. Almost everything that happens in this film appears distorted or magnified somewhere else in its running time - repeated, endlessly, forming patterns. It's not going to suit every taste, but it's a fascinating look at a take on life that most wouldn't have thought of.
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7/10
Clever Concept
gavin694228 May 2015
Two parallel stories about two identical women; one living in Poland, the other in France. They do not know each other, but their lives are nevertheless profoundly connected.

Polish cinema is not well-known. France and Italy seem to have the European continent locked when it comes to great films. For Poland, you have Roman Polanski, and he has spent much (probably most) of his career outside the country. But this film is one example of the great things that can come out of Poland.

The very concept is interesting. Two people who are very much alike, whose lives influence each other, but live in completely separate places and do not know each other. Is it possible? Probably not. But a great premise, just the same.
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Beyond Incredible
Aaron White10 April 2015
I love this film. It's the work of a true master filmmaker and it's a masterpiece. Irene Jacobs is perfect in her two roles. Her performance is truly flawless. Everything about this film is beautiful. Just the fact it exists is beautiful. The fact that it happened. Krzysztof Kieslowski made one of cinemas most important films ever. I really wonder what would have came next after the following Three Colors trilogy. This film will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. I'm taking it to the grave. I love this film on a personal level and I pretty much think anyone with a soul would. Those who agree with me should understand how masterful this film is.
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9/10
The Fourth Color: Gold
xtian_durden1 April 2015
Krzysztof Kieslowski loves to delve in the idea of chance versus fate versus free will. The Double Life of Veronique is a haunting musical epiphany and with such visual poetry, it is filled with symbolism, some frank eroticism, and a slight dark humor. Kieslowski loves to filter colors to have an effect on his films, if it was part of his Three Colors Trilogy, it would've been "Gold". The photography was nostalgic, the lighting gives different shades on different moods of the characters. Irene Jacobs was enigmatic and sensual in her role as Weronika and Veronique. The story is simple, but there is more than the plot here, Kieslowski is more concerned in the visual rhyme, and his mystical narration of the story. He kind of connect the whole film together with strings but still leaves it like a scattered puzzle, it encourages uncertainty, and that is what I really liked about it. It leaves us with haunting questions that remains for us to answer, maybe in our own lives, rather than making us a complacent viewer that understands everything about the film and the world. I admire how Kieslowski made the film a reflection on the possibilities that the film indicates a reality beyond physical mundane lives. This film is both delicate and mysterious. I'd love to watch it again anytime, in a calmer and peaceful place with a cup of coffee at my hand.
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10/10
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
mevmijaumau14 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Véronique is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. It hypnotizes in the first five minutes and doesn't let your attention go until the end. Not one minute is wasted, not one shot feels wrong. Every tiny detail about this movie feels just so perfect.

This is essentially a story about metaphysical, almost supernatural traits and connections we share with people we may not even know. Weronika and Véronique (both brilliantly played by Irène Jacob) were born on the same day but in two different countries. Weronika is a bit more spiritual and impulsive, while Véronique is more down to earth. After W dies on her first musical performance, V (who's a music teacher) feels a turn in her mind and decides not to become a singer. This correlation is later brought up by a puppeteer V meets, who by extreme coincidence wants to write a book about two connected women who don't know each other, one who burned her hand on the stove as a kid and the other who reached for the stove but felt like not touching it.

According to Kieslowski's interview, the movie is about how your actions affect other people's lives in the most abstract of ways. Of course, there's more to it, but that's the basic principle, and the movie takes the idea to the extreme, depicting W's life almost as a trial run for V's life. The theme of doubles is constantly repeated throughout the film, in the most obvious ways such as showing V or W's image reflected on mirrors, or linking it with the dolls the puppeteer makes, not just in the scene where he makes two puppets based on V (one of which he holds in his hand, the other of which he leaves laying on the table), but also through his marionette performance, which tells the story of a ballet dancer who breaks her leg and turns into an angel.

The final scene of the film shows V arriving at her father's house and stopping at the gate, while her father is cutting some wood in his house. She touches the tree in front of the house, which makes him stop sawing and instead looks back. This scene, given that the bit of wood he's sawing came from the tree in his yard, once again implies the mysterious connection that we may share with other people, or, in this case, with natural elements in general. The puppet-related imagery, on the other hand, raises questions whether or not destiny is real, and if it is, how much freedom does it grant us?

The cinematography by Slawomir Idziak is beautiful and makes this one of the most well-shot films I've ever seen (does anyone else think this movie's visual style, or at least parts of the plot line inspired Amélie?). The two domineering colors are green and red, which not only ties in with the Christmas theme the start of the film has going for it, but also matches V's and W's lives. Green and red are complementary colors, much as how V's life is complementary to W's.
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1/10
another life another cliché
fanbaz-549-87220916 November 2014
The idea that we all have a double is as old as the hills and as old as that metaphor. Buy one get one free. Irene Jacob is given plenty of footage to show what she is made of. Nudity is right there in the first five minutes. But apart from that and some fine camera work there isn't much to hang on to. Soft porn to lift the tired plot left me cold from the start. Others love this kind of movie. It has all sorts of mysteries and what's going on here moments that passed for movie making when this film was made. It seemed like new ground to some but it wasn't. Just the same old tricks in another box. One scene sums it up. One of the Veroniques tells her father she is in love, in her underwear! 'Anyone I know?' he asks. Most fathers would tell her to go and get dressed.
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10/10
Art in its maximum expression
inioi20 September 2014
Music, image and script combines to offer a very personal work.

The film transcends the usual conventions. Do not waste time with unnecessary dramas or unrealistic love stories, and shows us something very unusual: the feminine inner world, subtle perceptions, intuition, omens, strange coincidences...

The unspoken moments in the film reveals an intimate atmosphere along the dreamlike and sensual photography.

Irene Jacob does an amazing job so natural that it is.

Also highlight the music, as in the trilogy BLUE, RED AND WHITE

It is a movie to let go,see it without preconceived ideas.

10/10
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10/10
An artistic masterpiece
Daniel Karlsson2 August 2014
Any true cinéaste is not obliged to overlook this masterwork. Although Kieslowski is a highly skilled director with a respectable list of great films on his resume, this is my favorite of his oeuvres.

The photo is fantastic. Every shot could have been disassembled and put up in a photo exhibition. The music is excellent. The story is a little diffuse in an interesting way and very rich in its scope for interpretation. Actually the film is so much broader than just confined to a single story. And this is like life; life is not always as grandiose as we think or wish it to be, but the simple things can be beautiful. It covers many small things in life, and like Kieslowski's other films, the approach is steady yet light-handed, relaxed. It is poetic, it is about love, about life, about mysteries.

It is a tragedy to not take advantage of an opportunity that comes into one's way, maybe once in a life time - and we suffer regret. Iréne Jacob has similarities to Juliette Binoche, probably Kieslowski's type of ideal woman: independent and beautiful. Like for example Binoche in the Blue film of the Dekalog, the women in his films have adopted to loneliness. But they cannot handle it completely - nobody can.

In the end, it is sense of utter satisfaction to have completed this film that does not disappoint on any single point. It leaves me with yet stronger motivation to learn French - to be able to see this masterpiece without subtitles.
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10/10
Elusive and impenetrable poetry
Howard Schumann19 March 2014
Two exact look-alikes, the Polish Weronika and the French Véronique, inhabit the world of Krzysztof Kieslowski's memorable The Double Life of Véronique. Both women are played by the same actress, the radiant Iréne Jacob, winner of the Best Actress award at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Born on the same day, they have green eyes and dark hair, congenital heart problems, and are talented singers, one a music teacher, the other a choir soprano, though each has a somewhat different personality. By its very nature, the story defies rational explanation and Kieslowski does not offer any, but the premise suggests that the separate self is an illusion, a projection of mind rather than an inherent expression of ultimate reality.

Shot in Krakow, Poland and Paris, France, the film is suffused with the stunning cinematography of Slawomir Idziak and a sublime score by Zbigniew Preisner beginning with the song she sung by Weronica at her debut concert in Krakow. Weronica's story fills the movie's first thirty minutes. Weronica's exuberance and childlike innocence are captured in the film's early moments when, after an outdoor choir performance, she remains standing wide-eyed in the pouring rain, looking up at the sky, as the others run for shelter.

Strangely though, Weronica tells others about an odd feeling that she is not alone, a feeling that is reinforced when she catches a glimpse of her doppelganger, Véronique, in the center of a Krakow square photographing a political protest demonstration (though she does not pursue her or mention the incident to family or friends). Though Weronica's desire to be a pianist was thwarted in an accident, her beautiful singing voice enables her to win a competition to join a musical company. As the young singer begins to perform her first concert, however, her heart condition sadly prevents her from continuing and the film shifts the remainder of its attention to Véronique.

As we first see Véronique, she is in the middle of making love but suddenly bursts into tears without explanation, the incident occurring at the same moment when Weronika suffers serious heart problems at her concert in Krakow. Véronique has given up a promising singing career because she intuitively knows that it is "wrong for her" and instead becomes a music teacher of young children. During this same period she also schedules a cardiogram as if she has had some kind of warning. The film is propelled by the emotions Véronique is experiencing: a strange feeling of being alone in a suddenly uncertain world and an unexplained sense of loss.

The mystery deepens when she begins to receive enigmatic packages in the mail from Alexandre (Philippe Volter), a puppeteer whose exquisite marionette performance she has seen and whose gifts are tied to objects from his children's stories. Concluding from listening to a cassette tape that was recorded at the Saint Lazare train station, she meets Alexandre, but her expectations of love are thwarted by his mundane reasons for the subterfuge, although it serves to enhance her sense of closeness with Weronica.

Though it is tempting to search for some sort of explanation, The Double Life of Veronique is better off not being analyzed but should be savored for its elusive and impenetrable poetry. If it has any point to make other than its captivating quality as a work of art, it may be that, in life, energy is wasted in trying to figure things out and that the only thing that makes sense is to submerge ourselves in its beauty and succumb to its mystery.
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porcelain
Armand13 December 2013
Kieslowski in pure form. same search of characters. same need of roots. and a beautiful performance of Irene Jacob, part of Three colors chain. a film about existence like a watercolor painting. or a porcelain doll. a life. a border. and the way to yourself. at first sigh, a verdict from many, a film about nothing. in essence, like each Kieslowski movie, a portrait of deep rooms of viewer soul. an exercise of honesty. who has the charm of childhood story, the force of answer of maturity, delicacy of wisdom of old age . it is only a great movie for its director precise art of transfigure ordinary pieces of everyday life.and for the feel of travel. in a world who can be not only real but a slide from yourself.
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9/10
Has a Hypnotic effect!
parth-nagori9 October 2013
The Double Life of Véronique, a poetic masterpiece. This is a film which compels you to read about it more than the time you have watched it for. Krzysztof Kieślowski has made love to the silver screen. The magical use of Red, Green & Golden has taken cinematography to an altogether new level. The awe inspiring music by Zbigniew Preisner, that surely lifts the mood. And finally the most beautiful thing to ever happen to cinema, Irène Jacob. Though the film doesn't have a story that can be put on paper yet it has a hypnotic effect. Can't believe it was made 22 years ago. Those who love real cinema & want to celebrate emotions are in for a treat.
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7/10
A unique experience
aaskillz699 October 2013
So i was very interested in seeing this movie, what first made me interested in seeing the movie was the fact that it was directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski, the director of the well known Three Color: Trilogy, which i really like, i had also seen another movie of his,A Short Film About Love, so i had liked what i had seen from him, certainly not mainstream stuff, but very interesting work. Another reason was the fact that this was his first collaboration with Irène Jacob who later appeared in his masterpiece Three Colors: Red. So yeah i wanted to see their first collaboration. My expectations i would say were not big, because i had heard that many people did not get the movie, but i hoped for the best.

The Double Life of Veronique is directed and written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and it stars Irène Jacob, Wladyslaw Kowalski and Halina Gryglaszewska. And i got to say that my biggest fear has come true, because i cant understand not in a whole what this movie is about. The movie follows two identical Veroniques, born on the same day - one Polish, one French, both with an identical heart condition and the same great operatic singing voice,both look like each other, they are like separated twins.

We never really truly understand the connection between the two Veronique's they both look the same, the same thing is happening to both, and they feel something that they cant describe, they never feel alone, they always in a way feel each other.

Its weird because i cant say that i disliked the movie, and i don't understand much of what happens, at times i felt like i was under a spell, very weird felling, some scenes are almost hypnotizing. Because of Kieslowski visual beauty, the yellows and oranges on screen perfect, but also because of Irène Jacob, she is amazing. The luminous Irène Jacob does wonders with her difficult double role as Veronika/Véronique, which requires her presence in nearly every frame of film. Guided by the sure hand of Kieslowski, Jacob projects an authentic goodness and innocence, coupled with a palpable sensuality and sensitivity. And this seems effortless. And to think that Andie MacDowell was almost cast to be in the movie, No way she would had been as great as Irène.

While watching it i was amazed by the visual beauty that once again Kieslowski managed to put on screen, by the charming star that Irène Jacob is on screen, but after the movie ended, the movie left me with questions lots of them, it left me confused.

I think Kieslowski wanted us to end the puzzle by ourselves the thing is that he doesn't give enough pieces, maybe the puzzle just cant be done, and in film i like to finish my puzzle. Rating:B
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10/10
It has an effect for everybody in some way.
Alex Harsanyi12 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This film just inspired me to watch more older films. In the summer i was in a Christian camp where they showed the main scene (for me it is) when Alexandre Fabbri is playing with the marionette ballerina. When I arrived home I immediately started searching for this film and finally i found it! It took me 3 days to watch it. This became my favorite film of all my life. There are scenes and quotes that mean so much to me. I feel I am not the only one with this feeling because as I can see, there are events that are alternative, and has effects that are different for you and your friends either.What is the most interesting thing what i've ever seen/heard? There is only one music in the film and makes you happy or sad depending on the scene. The cameraman's work is excellent too! :) I absolutely would nominate this for Golden Globe of all times.
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Condemned to death
randomchoice17 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I hated this movie while watching it.After much debating with myself and a friend I have come to the conclusion that this movie is about death. While I still have no sympathy for anyone or anything in the movie, I think the movie is nevertheless a lot more coherent than I initially thought, and for this - and also for the excellent filmography - I am giving it an 8/10.

(1)

A friend of mine suggested this movie is about the various possibilities of existence which cannot be realized simultaneously in real life. I felt this wasn't right but I didn't have another interpretation to offer. But now I do. Let's see what Weronika and Veronique are all about:

(a) Similarities

They are both sickly creatures. They have a father, they don't have a mother. They are both engaged with music. They know and interact with a series of characters of no consequence (the aunt, the colleague from school, etc.) They both appear in a love relationship where their lovers are more involved than themselves. They both dismiss those lovers. They both have a plastic (?) ball and are fascinated by what the world looks like as reflected through it. They both watch an old woman through the window. They both seem to drift without touching the world around them. They both see their doppelgänger.

(b) Differences

Weronika lives in Poland. She is not independent (lives with her dad / aunt). She seems young and inexperienced. She moves to another city for the sake of her aunt. Feels that she is not alone in the world. She dies singing.

Veronique lives in France. She is financially independent (she lives on her own, has her own job). She seems more mature, and already anchored in music (she has a music teacher, she teaches music). She quits her music lessons although her teacher thinks she has a great talent. She feels alone in the world. She falls in love (Weronika never seems in love; talking to her aunt, she seems excited to have slept with that guy but abandons him). She accepts the game played on her by the anonymous stalker. She becomes acquainted with her puppeteer. She sees her doppelgänger, in the end. She begins to see how he may be the one manipulating her.

Veronique's story begins as Weronika dies. This chronological details is supported by the photo / negative from Poland, which is the moment when the stories of the two girls become anchored in reality and aligned in a particular chronological order.

So far, what does this movie seem to be about? Let's say that Veronique's first apparition and inexplicable grief is a premonition of what might happen to her if she continues taking music lessons / trying to make a career in music. This premonition leads her to abandon her existential possibility of realizing her potential through music. Having abandoned this possibility (I don't feel like it should be called her 'ideal' - Veronique doesn't really seem to have a passion, a dream, an ideal!), she somehow loses her path. Is she the ballerina who breaks her leg and then turns into a butterfly, as the ballerina in the puppeteer's story? This seems rather to be Weronika's story. Veronique refuses to break her leg, so there's no question of her turning into a butterfly. Is, then, the movie about a character with a talent for music to whom her talent is fatal, and for whom abandoning the talent would lead to perdition all the same? If yes, then the movie does make sense, although I'm still not sure about the puppeteer. It's as if the puppeteer had somehow condemned both these girls to death, and loves them when they have accepted their sentence. (Antek too could be some kind of a puppeteer: he tells Weronika he loves her only after she had come to the city and was already pursuing her talent! Likewise, Alexandre too tells Veronique he loves her only after she had accepted to enter the game of the anonymous caller.)

If this death sentence were the true meaning of the movie, then it also would be easier to understand why Veronique has two lovers (the first, unnamed one, and then, Alexandre), and Weronika only one: Veronique quits music and drives away her first lover, and this could be a rejection of dying for her talent. Her condemnation to death is, however, still there: having failed to kill her through music, the puppeteer steps in himself.

The weird thing about this interpretation is that, although both girls do seem to have some relation to music, neither of them gives the impression that music is the biggest thing in their lives. Music is just something they happen to be good at, good enough to be remarked and regretted when they cannot / refuse to pursue it. For the rest, these girls look like lambs brought to the slaughterhouse. For example, when Weronika's aunt asks her how her audition had gone, Weronika answers something like (I don't remember the exact wording): it went TOO well. Apathetic...

(2) My conclusion about the movie

After lots of thinking, here's, then, my conclusion regarding what this movie is about: I think it is about condemnation to death, regardless of other life details. This idea seems supported by that episode where Veronique holds the shoestring across the graph paper in a straight line over her recent EKG graph. The straight line of an EKG = death.

Everything else in the movie is ballast. The doppelgänger thing is rather a red herring: it muddles the waters without any pay-off, really.

Now I understand why the music is throughout so sad / sinister. Also, why there is so much ballast, so many gestures of no consequence. So many attempts at a plot but with no actual realization. The characters are doomed, and that's all.
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8/10
"Cinematic, cinematographic, psychological and lyrical..."
Sindre Kaspersen3 May 2013
Polish screenwriter and director Krzysztof Kieslowski's ninth feature film which he co-wrote with Polish screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz, premiered In competition at the 44th Cannes International Film Festival in 1991, was shot on location in France and Poland and is a France-Poland-Norway co-production which was produced by producer Leonardo De La Fuente. It tells the story about and educated singer and pianist named Weronika who lives in an apartment in Poland and who is in a relationship with a man named Antek. After experiencing a feeling of not being alone which she is instigated to act upon, Weronika travels to Krakow where her aunt lives and when she gets there she notices a woman whom she has never seen before and who bears a striking resemblance to herself.

Distinctly and subtly directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, this finely tuned fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main character's point of view, draws a virtuous portrayal of the life of a Polish woman named Weronika and a French woman named Veroniqué who are identical and who one day coincidentally or determined by destiny crosses paths. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, distinct production design by production designer Patrice Mercier, cinematography by polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, costume design by costume designers Laurence Brignon, Claudy Fellous and Elzbieta Radke, fine editing by French film editor Jacques Witta and use of colors and light, this character-driven and narrative-driven story where the director could focus more on the cinematic aspects of his film and less on the political which was characteristic in many of his previous productions due to the political situation in his country, depicts two interrelated and empathic studies of character and contains a great score by Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner.

This dramatic, literary, somewhat surreal, romantic and humanistic drama from the early 1990s about identity and faith which is the last feature film Krzysztof Kieslowski made before ending his career with the Three Colours trilogy which consisted of "Blue" (1993), "White" (1994) and "Red" (1994) and which is set in the capital city of France and the capital city of Poland in the early 1990s and where a music teacher for children named Veroniqué who lives in France experiences a feeling of being alone, is impelled and reinforced by it's brilliant narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, interrelated stories, endearing characters, poetic scenes and the memorable acting performance by French actress Irène Jacob. A cinematic, cinematographic, psychological and lyrical mystery which gained, among numerous other awards, the FIPRESCI Prize Krzysztof Kieslowski, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the award for Best Actress Irène Jacob at the 44th Cannes Film Festival in 1991.
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