La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique) (1991)
The Double Life of Véronique is the story of two young women who are -- in some mysterious and irresolvable way -- the same woman leading two different yet interconnected lives. Those familiar with Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's later "Three Colors" trilogy of Blue, White, and Red will recognize his fascination with accidental happenings and chance encounters, as well as Irène Jacob (from Red) whose performance as both Veronika and Veronique won the 1991 Cannes Film Festival award for best actress. Veronika and Véronique are born on the same day in 1966, one in Poland, the other in France. They grow up separately, unaware of each other's existence, but with the vague and rarely expressed feeling that they are "not alone." The story begins in Poland, where Veronika (like Véronique) is a talented vocalist and music student who wins a prestigious singing competition and is given the chance to perform with a local symphony. On the night of the concert, while singing a duet onstage, Veronika loses consciousness and dies. Véronique is emotionally wounded by the loss of her double and decides to end her singing career. The film charts the effect of Veronika's death on Véronique and on her dispassionate and unsatisfying relationships with men, especially her father. She is led to puppeteer and children's book author Alexandre Fabbri (Philippe Volter), whose puppet shows and stories are dramatic variants on her own mysterious problem. While looking through photographs of Véronique's trip to Poland, Fabbri discovers a picture of Veronika walking through a student demonstration in Kracow. He shows the picture to Véronique, who intuits the significance of Veronika's perfect likeness to herself. … More
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Critic Reviews for La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)
We see through a glass darkly, and often confusingly, but at least we see.
Don't even attempt to resolve that paradox, and The Double Life of Veronique will work on its own poetic terms.
It operates purely on visual juxtapositions, emotion and the presence of lead actress Irene Jacob. In its own terms, it's subtly precious.
The parts do not quite fit, and anyway this is not a puzzle to be assembled. It is a romance about those moments we all sometimes have when we think we see ourselves at a distance.
A film that washes over the viewer and invites meditative contemplation about our awareness while swimming the big river of consciousness. [Blu-ray]
If Kieslowski's overarching metaphors about Weronika/Veronique seem strained, Jacob's sensuous and delicately nuanced performance will double your pleasure.
Though pleasing to the eye, it's not everything we would have hoped for from Kieslowski.
Kieslowski's most lyrical and metaphsical film, with a haunting performance from Irene Jacob, is also one of his most bizarre and enigmatic works--by design.
Compelling, challenging and irresistibly beautiful, this delicate metaphysical masterpiece only emphasises how much cinema lost through Krzysztof Kieslowski's tragically early death.
If Double Life is arguably only half as rewarding as some of Kieslowski's other films, then it remains an indelible entry in an outstanding career.
Haunting but slow
While this is the film that set the stage aesthetically for Kieslowski's masterful Three Colors trilogy, it is more mysterious than any of those films.
This is a perfect example of a situation where a film doesn't have to make sense to be a compelling and wonderful film experience.
Audience Reviews for La Double Vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique)
A strange but interesting film which unfortunately did nothing for me. It was too confusing trying to work out what was happening and when and what exactly Jacob's facial expressions were meant to represent. Left me with too many questions however the message that life is fragile and you should cherish every moment is very heart warming.More
Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique" is a sensitive and awe inspiring experience. Kieslowski is exploring the basic idea of the Counterpart Theory in Metaphysics. If you can grasp that theory and understand the long standing 'double' troupes (they range from Dostoyevsky's famous story 'The Double' to as recently as "Another Earth") you will begin to unlock the film. On the surface Irene Jacob is terrific and the cinematography is incredible (all those colors!). "The Double Life of Veronique" is a wonderful and complex experience that is immensely rewarding to committed viewers but beware that the film will be extremely confounding if merely 'watched.'
Also, many people think the film is not 'meant to be figured out.' I wholeheartedly disagree. I think the film fits it's pieces together quite well- but again, it goes back to Counterpart Theory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpart_theory
A visually radiant film about the universal interconnectedness of human beings. While some may be distraught by how many loose ends that Kieslowski leaves in the film, his penchant for rich storytelling will surely satisfy those viewers who choose not to ponder the metaphysical questions that this film brings up. It is contemplative, incredibly well acted, and just simply a gorgeous film to watch.More
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