Movie Review: The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

Title: La double vie de Véronique / Podwójne życie Weroniki
Release Date: 15 May 1991
Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski
Production Company: Sidéral Productions | Zespól Filmowy “X” | Norsk Film | Canal+

The Double Life of Veronique is not really a movie that can benefit from being summed up or explained, so I’ll try to keep this short.  In Krakow, Weronika (Irène Jacob) is a young and up-and-coming choral vocalist.  At one point she sees a French tourist taking photos of a protest who looks just like her.  Meanwhile, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, music teacher Véronique (Irène Jacob) feels grief for something she cannot explain. She soon finds herself in a mystery of receiving phone calls and packages from an inscrutable puppeteer/children’s book author, Alexandre Fabbri (Philippe Volter) that seems to connect to her existentialist crisis.

Like a lot of European art films, The Double Life of Veronique doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but is compelling in the manner of a half-remembered dream.  There are lots of shots of looking through doors and windows, reflected images, and inverted camera obscura effects for people who enjoy symbolism.  Alexandre is kind of creepy, but again, this is a French film, so I guess he’s supposed to be romantic.  Irène Jacob is terrifically expressive in her dual role and I think the film owes a lot of what works to her performance.  This is definitely a film about feelings rather than plot, and Jacob brings out those feelings.

Rating: ***1/2

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