The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★★

All my life I've felt like I was here and somewhere else at the same time.

A ballet of colors. A symphony of feeling. An ode to spirit and body. A lust for meaning.

Why must I watch films that keep making me feel so gay for loving them?

Double Life of Veronique is a beautiful, haunting, tragic, sexy and ultimately enlightening tale that looks into the soul and sets it aflame. One of the first couple things you are bound to notice about this film from the get-go are

1. Iréne Jacobs's aching beauty
2. The warm and engrossing photography

Seriously, the pairing of photographer Slawomir Idziak and legendary Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski is genius immortalized on film forever. This story follows Weronika and Veronique, two women who are identical and share the same nuances, tweaks, interests, and possibly souls; but they live thousands of miles apart. One in Poland and one in Paris. The unexpected death of one leads to the other becoming increasingly aware of another presence like her own in the world. Or maybe she is feeling the loss? This film is one of the most beautiful exercises of film as an art form. I had fun picking apart scenes and trying to find meaning behind it all but eventually that will erodes away and you are left just utterly transfixed and attached to the raw emotion and warm beauty that this film radiates with nearly every second.

I'm not all that familiar with Kieslowski other than seeing his name dropped whenever discussing the greats, so I wasn't too familiar with his style and I wasn't too sure of what to expect. To say it blew my expectations out of the water would be an understatement. His directing/editing/photography was perfect and captures the tone and atmosphere beautifully. The film flowed like water and the camera imitated the events on screen; its intimate one minute, but reclusive and shy the next; hiding behind curtains and looking through windows. It reflects the character of Veronique; intimate and gentile but sometimes reaching out with trembling hand or yearning for something that isn't there. Kieslowski also likes to play with mirrors or reflections to reinforce the theme of two. Chances are, if you remember a specific shot you like, there was double of something. Narrative wise, Kieslowski also plays with the ideas of strangers a bunch. They pop in and out to either ignore the characters, publicly expose themselves, or become love interests. In the sea of souls, strangers will be, well, strange but the ones you are connected to will always find you in one way or another.

The Double Life of Veronique was a really special movie for me. It has been a long time since a film floated through me with such ease. I'm going to be honest, when I picked out this movie I was sure it wasn't a 5 star film. And when it started I still wasn't convinced. But something happened. There wasn't a specific moment when I started to love it but I know it just happened. Maybe it was the concert scene, when it was illuminated with the haunting green glow. Maybe it was Veronique when you can feel a rush of sadness come over her when her double dies. I don't know. It was just an infectious film that still has not let me go of its embrace.

And I don't want to leave.

This is a film of feeling, not careful examination or dissertation. Just sit down and let it sink in. This is a film to be soaked up instead of studied carefully. Don't come at it aggressively, just let it happen. You will not be disappointed.

I still cannot get over how beautiful Iréne Jacob was...

It literally hurts me

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