The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★★

I’d been craving a rewatch of this for the past week. something about feeling lost and unsure in one’s life (heightened definitively by the times we live in) just lead my mind to think about this one. the weightless beauty, and vast complexity, manifested through its visuals and Kieślowski’s tone, prove cinema to be an experience unlike any other.

detractors of the film would probably decry it for “not making sense”, or having seemingly no purpose. as if life itself isn’t filled with coincidence, feelings beyond description or reach, and a general overall mystery to it all. intrigue in the rhythms of being. this is a movie to feel, to become wrapped up in. I’ve said this about Marie Rivière and Rohmer films, but Irène Jacob seems born to be an actor in a Kieślowski film. oddly enough, she was only ever in two, but at least two of his most significant: his artistic rebirth (this one), and his final statement (Three Colours: Red).

I typically dislike trying to “figure out” or explain a movie, as to me this takes away from the grander scheme of what’s being attempted: transcendence, experience through art. it turns the piece from something along those lines to something akin to a puzzle. yet, on this third watch, I’m in the mood to at least offer my potential interpretations...there is clearly a pre-Dekalog Kieślowski, and a post-Dekalog one. two sides of the same person, two sides of their artistry. the first half ends with a bleak death scene, one where we see the literal dirt being thrown onto their coffin. what follows is a rebirth in the form of a new being. what does the marionette sprout from their back? butterfly wings, which just so happens to occur after she “dies” (a sheet replacing dirt in this moment). and butterflies don’t live long, eerily predicting the much too short amount of time Kieślowski would have remaining in life following this film. what of the political strife barely present in both the first half (the post-rally chaos leading Weronika to first see Veronique), and in the second half via the bombed-out car? what does it mean? well...why does that matter? regardless of the times, strife will remain. social unrest will be prevalent. it was abundantly prevalent in Kieślowski’s films before this one, and he seemed to understand it will always be there, but it’s not such a major focus this time around. love, life, mystery, that which can’t be understood let alone described, this is what seemed to occupy his mind then. is the puppeteer a stand-in for him? you could argue that, after all it’s almost too on-the-nose to not be somewhat accurate. but let’s remember Veronique, feeling “here and somewhere else”, as anyone whose ever come up with any sort of artistic vision could attest to, what else are ideas if not being “here” and “somewhere else” simultaneously? but one of the many areas of beauty here is in its ambiguity, so maybe it’s some of this view, none of it, something else entirely, who’s to say?

this time around, I had to stop playin and give this one the rating it deserves. including all ten parts of the Dekalog, I’ve probably seen around 14-15 Kieślowski movies. none of them are bad. this may be the best.

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