The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★★

Film #11 of Project 90

”I feel that I’m not alone in this world.”

One day she woke up and felt a deep sadness in her soul. She looked around. She was at the same place, with the same people. Nothing was changed. All the people she knew were all right and they were all behaving like before. But she knew that something’s wrong. She felt that something or someone has disappeared from her life, she didn't know what or who but she was sure that she won’t be able to find that thing or that person again. Music lost its glamour. Love lost its power. Life lost its charm.

Although Veronica/Veronique’s story is a fantasy filled with supernatural elements but Krzysztof Kieslowski doesn't engage himself in the physical or logical paradoxes of the story of two people who are actually one person with same behaviors, same passions and even the same disease, he takes the idea and then tells us about one of his favorite subjects: loneliness. The Double Life of Veronique is more than anything about the disturbing nature of loneliness and the destructive effects of solitude on human mind and soul. And what makes the whole thing more touching is that here we are witnessing the kind of loneliness that happens when someone loses herself, not her lover, not her parents, not her husband, not her child. Herself.

Veronica/Veronique are both happy people as long as they are in love, they don’t know who they love but they can sense her presence and that’s enough, that feeds their souls and gives them enough hope to continue living. Later when this fine balance is disturbed through an unfortunate event life turns into a misery, Veronique can’t bear the crushing weight of loneliness and sadness that comes after it and that is what Kieaslowki portrays so powerfully, he shows us how Veronique loses his passion of life, we see that a large cloud comes and covers her soul. Kieslowki’s characters don’t die of heart failures, they die when they become lonely.

Veronica/Veronique (played miraculously by Irene Jacob, one of the greatest performances I have witnessed in my life) are not the only characters of Kieslowski’s masterpiece, Zbigniew Preisner’s score is the third character, it is what connects two girls (or one?) to each other, it is what makes life more fabulous for them it is the beating heart of the film and it gives the movie its magically touching tone, without it the movie will lose a good part of its perfectness.

Calling The Double Life of Veronique a film may be a little bit misleading, it is a spiritual experience of the highest quality, a cathartic one if you ask me. It is the result of Kieslowki’s unrivaled genius, Jacob’s divine performance, Slawomir Idziak’s dazzling cinematography and Preisner’s heavenly score, a film that will strike you hard with its endless thematic beauty and splendor . If Krzysztof Kieslowki was a prophet then this was his miracle.

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