Some years back, I watched The Double Life of Veronique with a friend. This being the second time of four times I've watched it myself. She couldn't speak when it was over and when I asked her how she felt? She simply scratched her head and shrugged. I mention this because, how do you describe an emotion really?
Wikipedia describes the film as follows:
"The film follows the lives of a young woman first in Poland, Weronika, and then a young woman in France, Véronique, both played by Irène Jacob. Though unrelated, the two appear identical, share many personality traits, and seem to be aware of each other on some level, as if they are doppelgängers; but except for a brief glimpse through a bus window in Kraków, they never meet. After Weronika sacrifices everything in the pursuit of a singing career, Véronique abandons her own similar goal because of poor health and attempts to find an independent course for her life, while becoming involved with a manipulative man who is fascinated by clues to her double nature. The man is a puppeteer and maker of marionettes, helping raise the questions that are central to the film: is there such a thing as free will, or is it up to a creator of some kind, or is it just a matter of chance that one acts and thinks as one does?"
It is almost an impossibility to reduce this film to mere fact, for which it is an imperative view of intuition. A "self conscious meditation," if you will of how we perceive characters and how we look at the world. I've seen this movie several times and I can tell you that the literal themes of some one out there in the world that resembles us is appealing. It appeals to my nature in terms of my origin and questions within myself. Equally alluring and enigmatic is the visual distortions and divided frames offering metaphysical meaning as well as query. Kieślowski has said himself that he didn't consider himself an, "artist because an artist offers answers rather a craftsman who uses film to pose questions." Poetic is the way in which Zbigniew Preisner ties the film with his rich and haunting score inspired by Dante's Versus, lyrics which he used. Véronique is a film much to do about music as it is the visual rhymes.
The cinematography of rich filtered light, reflections, shots though windows and circular as well as strait lines all play an intricate roll in the film and it is essential that you pay close attention to detail while viewing the works of Kieslowski in general. I highly suggest that you see The Three Colors Trilogy three separate movies of three concepts where liberation, impartiality and fraternity are explored.
In The Double Life of Veronique there is a gentle balance of exploitation, sensitivity and love. Transcendent clues leading to the romantic aspects give the film its metaphysical weight and it is very worth renting the DVD. It's been said that, "you need to look with eyes wide open, to look with lucidity and perception." "This film not only allows for uncertainty but encourages it. Krzysztof Kieślowski does not want a complacent audience that thinks it understands everything rather wants to leave us with haunting questions that remains for us to answer in our own lives." It's simply a visual poem with metaphysical concern. The brilliant attempt to convey an emotion.
Written for Imeem July 11, 2009.