The Double Life of Veronique
Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991
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The Double Life Of Veronique. I won't even pretend that I have a grasp to what this film was trying to say or if it even has anything to say. I felt as I watched that I shouldn't pay so much attention to the details so much as focus on the way the film tries its hardest to achieve the lyrical quality of a poem. If you look at it that way, the film succeeds. I also want to bring attention to the way that the film has purely perfect moments. Little bits and pieces of the film where you can't believe you've never seen a scene quite like this one such as the one where Weronika witnesses herself inside a bus (or does she?) or when Veronique listens raptly to a tape of sounds that someone else has sent her. The film is beautiful.
If The Reader is Oscar bait, then this one is Cannes bait. It’s stunning to look at and Kieslowski photographs Irene Jacob beautifully, but I dunno that kind of thing doesn’t hold my attention the way it does other people. I guess the whole metaphysical thing didn’t really turn my crank, the internet tells me it was an exploration of identity or something. Sure, I’ll buy that. Not that I need things to always be narrative driven, far from it, but for whatever reason nothing really drew me in in a big way. Anyway, it was pretty enough and there were enough good moments to get a good grade.
I've watched it twice now and each time I am drawn in, stunned by the beauty and power of the simple story. It is intellectually stimulating and sensual, but somehow it is the beauty of it that captures me. I am misty-eyed at the end of the film, and I don't know why. It moves me as no other film does, and it is a mystery how it stirs my soul at all. In all, The Double Life is one of my favorite films of all time.
I just love the way the film focuses on living. There are so many moments where the sound is so carefully constructed - think of the diegetic music sprinkled around, think of the performances throughout, think of the scene with the headphones, think of the ending... There are so many scenes where vision plays a prominent role - think of the opening upside down scene, think of viewing the puppeteer in the mirror, think of viewing the world through the inverting glass ball, think of the photographs... There are so many scenes where touch takes over - think of the rustling with papers in the street, think of the interlocking bodies, think of the failing heart, think of twisting the finger while singing, think of the string twisting in her fingers as one of the clues... I don't think the way these elements are portrayed has any greater significance to the other 'meaning' in the film, but they do convey a sense of the senses, of sensing, of living. I like to bathe in the film.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.