The Double life of Veronique

(La double vie de Veronique; Podwójne Życie Weroniki, 1991). A Polish-French coproduction (and the first film made outside of Poland by Krzysztof Kieślowski) that developed the character of a young female singer who appeared in his earlier Decalogue 9 (1988). Produced with the participation of Kieslowski's regular contributors, including Krzysztof Piesiewicz (coscriptwriter), Sławomir Idziak (cinematography), and Zbigniew Preisner (music), The Double Life of Veronique revolves around two young women, Weronika in Poland and Veronique in France, both memorably played by Irene Jacob (winner of the Best Actress award at Cannes), who do not know each other but whose lives have a number of mysterious parallels. Polish Weronika lives for the art of singing. During a brilliant performance featuring Van den Budenmayer's music (fictional composer), she collapses on the stage and is pronounced dead. The story of Weronika then dissolves into the story of Veronique who works as a primary school music teacher. She is unaware of Weron-ika's existence, yet thanks to the mysterious link between the two women, she learns from Weronika's experiences.
   The theme of doubleness and doubling permeates the film's narrative. Veronique's (Weronika's?) "double life" is intensified by the film's cinematography, with its reliance on yellowish filters, which help to create warmth and a sense of otherworldliness, and fuzzy images and landscapes, which generate a dreamlike atmosphere. Idziak's photography relies on point-of-view shots, upside-down and mirror images, distorted images through windows and from behind massive doors with tiny glass ornaments, shots through a magnifying glass, and blurred images seen through a transparent toy ball. This slow-paced enigma, beautifully crafted and governed by a sense of mystery, appears to be almost the essence of "European art cinema" due to its personal character, sensuality, ambiguity, subjective camera, self-referentiality, and the fact that it is saturated with art film cliches.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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