The Double Life of Veronique (Krzsystof Kiezlowski – 1991) A+

It really is amazing how usually difficult it is to describe exactly why a film is great, superb and worth watching over and over. Just as well that I am refering to a really surreal film by the great Kiezlowski. I don’t think any of his films are as dependent on rhyming imagery, the metaphysical, reality and the imagined as much as this one. From the moment The Double Life of Veronique opens and we get a mesmerizing image of a city upside down and the voice of Veronique’s mom talking to her 3 or 4 year old daughter we are in the grasp of this film. It is about two women, in two cities who are the same person…but not really. Kiezlowski does not attempt to even explain to us why there are two Veroniques, one in Paris and the other in Warsaw. Maybe there are more of her in other cities and more of every one for that matter.  There just is and they have a connection even if they do not explicitly know it. At several instances in the film the character of Veronique just gets a “feeling” that she’s not alone. Maybe she gets comfort from that. Maybe a warning to make different choices. When the Polish Veronique (or Veronika) collapses during her singing performance, the Paris version starts crying and soon after quits music. Would she have collapsed as well if she did not quit her music ambitions and lessons? See they both have a heart condition. So, is Veronique just getting a second chance at life and love? Maybe. They both lost their mom’s early in life. They both have a close and sweet relationship with their fathers….

Enough about “plot” though and I have not touched on their love life, Veronique’s odd divorce testimony or the shoelace. There’s a lot in here, but not all of it is direct story telling and I don’t think it is meant to be. We know what is going on but we don’t have to get hung up on it. What Kieslowski does here is create a piece of art made of spectacular imagery, colors and amazing music. It’s closer to a poem than a movie. I’ve seen The Double Life a few times now and it’s a wonderful experience with every viewing. The perfect camera work, the gorgeous color pallet, the smooth rhythm of the story and Irene Jacobs’ beautiful performance combine to make this into one of Kieslowski’s best work.

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