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The Double Life of Veronique


'The Double Life of Veronique' (1991)

Dir.: Krysztof Kieslowski


A thoroughly absorbing film, and one of the best looking I've ever seen. I was transfixed throughout. Almost every frame is compelling. Kieslowski uses colour like very few other directors do. In most of Veronique, there is a sepia / greenish haze that appears around characters, on walls and through doors and windows. It gives the film an almost ethereal quality, like we are watching someone's dream. There are prominent reds too, presumably signifying caution, similar to his Three Colours trilogy.

The beautiful Irene Jacob is perfect for the part of Veronique / Weronika, and at times she appears hugely vulnerable. The movie focuses on two versions of the same woman - one Polish and one French. We watch as their stories intersect and Veronique tries to work out the connection and why it is that she feels grief for the loss of another she never even met.

Kieslowski's triumph here is to explore themes that would normally appear fanciful, cheesy or sentimental - a film about dopplegangers exploring existentialism just wouldn't work outside European cinema in my humble opinion. But he manages to create something so bewitching and elegant that it's hard to fault this film in any way. The viewer is perhaps reminded of films that came before it (Bergman's 'Persona') and after it (Villeneuve's 'Enemy'), but it is it's own beast, and another of Kieslowski's masterpieces. Surely one of the most beautiful films ever made.