- Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Véronique is so enigmatic and lyrical—it almost makes his previous films seem like prose and this is his first attempt at poetry (more description than praise or a critique). This has a melodic tone- and it isn’t just because Veronique and Veronika are musicians
- It does confirm that the visual director that emerged from Dekalog is the one from A Short Film About Killing– he brings back the color filter (this is green, but a softer dream-like almost transparent green hued mist—not the harsh dystopian green/yellow with expressionistic shadows in A Short Film About Killing).
- It is so opaque – it will frustrate some looking for harder forward moving story elements to hold onto—it makes films like Camera Buff and the economy on display in episode one of Dekalog seem like a legal treatise in comparison. This floats away when you you reach out to touch it. Kieslowski is not quick to offer answers.
- A key shot is the glass with the upside down city- Kieslowski uses mirrors, reflections in glass, doubles, inversion…chance
- A stunning of a shot a church at nine minutes- the sky is literally green—green is the choice here and it so brilliantly woven in to the décor and used in the lighting to drape itself on nearly every frame. Look at the spotlight used on her when she’s performing the concert.
- Christmas is set up in the opening, like episode three of Dekalog, and there is an abundance of red here as well. We get the big red bus the first time she sees her double. The green van with the angels on hit is surrounded by red motorcycles at the 40 minute mark. The tea shot in close-up is blood red, the sweater she wears in the greatest frame in the film- the window frame at the 45 minute mark is red
- This dedication to a color aesthetic is certainly the visual trait most associated with Kieslowski. It happened before of course- perhaps Cries and Whispers is an influence. Bergman also worked with doppelgängers (Persona)
- We get the shocking early death of our heroine in the film like Psycho or L’Avventura
- At the 75 minute mark she is starring at the puppeteer literally through a red and green stained glass
- This is Kieslowski’s second masterpiece (depending on how you categorize A Short Film About Killing/Dekalog) and would place him solidly as one of the greatest filmmakers on the planet in 1991. It doesn’t have the stylistically/visually quiet moments we see in a few episodes of Dekalog or certainly his work before. There are 40-50 jaw-dropping sequences, shots, and frames in the short 98 minute running time here.
- This is contemplative, metaphysical, the story of a ballerina morphing into a butterfly fairytale. The puppet maker with the two identical dolls. The idea of fate. The frailty of it all. They both have similar relationships with their fathers, one in Poland, one in France, both have a condition with their heart.
- A very fine achievement for Irène Jacob—an introspective performance
- Slawomir Idziak as the DP- also shot A Short Film About Killing and Three Colours: Blue
- Kieslowski takes his time- there’s very little plot—not a ton of dialogue (like A Short Film About Killing)—he’s ruminating- and there is so much to look at and be awed by as he does
- A masterpiece
Yeah, great review, i know i keep saying this haha, i think this was Kieslowski’s overrated movie, right?
So this means Kiewelowski will certainly sneak into the top 25 film directors of all time.Since you watched Dekalog,A short film about killing and this recently what is the best film out of these three?Does all three make the top 200 films of all time if you update it now?
@Anderson- I’m not sure yet. I want to give all of this some time to sink in and process a little.
[…] The Double Life of Veronique – Kieslowski […]
Between Blue and this , according to you which one is more superior? For me it’s Blue.
@MASH- Hmmm tough one- I know I’d have them on the same plane
Remarkable film. The best I have seen from Kieslowski. (not seen Dekalog yet). Among the Top 3-5 films of the 1990s…
I found this recently. A great read
@AP- This indeed a great read- thanks for sharing
I’ll get behind you on that – my own recent study of Kieslowski landed Double Life right at the top, though admittedly I don’t think his other masterpieces are too far behind. Great article you shared as well. I put together my own thoughts on it here: https://scenebygreen.com/2022/04/03/the-double-life-of-veronique-1991/
Definitely check out the Dekalog when you can, it is a massive achievement and potentially the greatest series ever made for television.
@DeclanG- Very impressive -love the writing and how the page was put together