Soumajit Nath’s review published on Letterboxd:
Living life sometimes can be felt peculiar. In a dull early morning, among dizziness trapped in between extreme consciousness and subconsciousness there comes a feeling in mind of swimming into a void as a ray of light. Thought comes one after another why I am here? Who am I? I supposed to be somewhere else! And in next moment I can feel I am there where I am supposed to be..it's hard to define what's the place it's as I cannot remember the details of the place anymore. Sometimes in vast broad daylight I see someone i never met but still they're looked so much familiar to me. I ignore this feeling by giving scientific explanation of subconsciously remembering trivial things from past. Sometimes without any reason I feel extremely sad or extremely happy, I ignore those feelings by saying it as general mood shift. Sometimes I sense something and change my descision at the very last moment which haven't had proper explanation why all of a sudden I have decided to do that instead of doing whatever I have intended to do. They are some strange feelings, that's might can be explained by proper reasoning but still there are something special in those feelings, it's something which everyone might experience, but noone cares about it...ignores them by considering them as just a glitch or trick of our minds. But are they just tricks of our conscious and subconscious minds or there have certain explanations which are beyond our knowledge? We never know. And it's obvious that what we can never know, what we have no assurances if the way we are defining them are right or not, that becomes always a fascinating subject to everyone to feel for. And in case of presenting human thoughts, emotions and very personal human experiences there's noone superior than Kielowski for me. I am die hard fan of his tremendous vision and storytelling which doesn't point out the whole matter what's happening in your eyes but he makes sure that you must feel the innermost feeling of protagonist from his story and in course of doing so if you are attentive and careful enough, you may occasionally find some of the subtle hints from the visuals what he's showing to us.
In paper the story of Kielowski's THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE is tooo simple and straightforward as like most of his films. But one can get it's full essence if they think about it more and more deeper by observing the smaller to smallest details in the movie. Now what's seemed very different here unlike any other Kielowski movies is the way of unfolding the mystery of his subject. There's no way to guess from his first shot in any of his films to make a certain guess about storyline of the film? It fascinates me in a vast way...whereas most of the filmmakers are busy how to start their films in a high node of excitement there Kielowski's approach is how to give just a glance of his subject to his viewers, he's like randomly pick a subject in so sudden and put a reference shot in first scene of his films which may be carrying an inner details or secret of the story but that can be only decoded after watching the film. That's the trick of him which ignites a suspense and fascination of understanding the unfamiliarity of subject of his story in his viewers minds. We just have to guess things untill the main topic of his story comes into light in the midway. Take the first shot of his 3rd instalment in COLOUR TRIOLOGY I.e RED where we see an apartment occupied by a model named Valentine (Irene Jacob). She makes a telephone call, and we are like getting into the fast forwarded route of those optical fibres which carries the mobile signal from a source to it's destination. Finally the phone rings at the same time in an apartment just across the street, occupied by a young law student Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit). But she is not calling him. Her call is to her boyfriend, who is in England, and whom she rarely sees. Though on that time it's hard to distinguish who calls whom. But here in DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, I found it's starting shot a little different from any other of his films as it just not only gives us hints about what we are going to experience about but also creates a base or set up on which it's story will be going to focus about...though there's no doubt HERE also Kielowski sustains his innovative way of filmmaking that surprises me again. A pan across a nighttime city, seen through a murky haze of giant smoke… and from seen upside down, from the POV of a little girl being dangled her head-downward, as her mother tells her to look for a specific star. Then a not-so-sudden cut that leads us to focus to an eye of another little girl from another part of the world which is observing a leaf by her magnifying glass, as her mother tells her to look closely to those fine veins of the leaf what she's holding. In very next shot as the credits roll in the screen, we find a woman (hard to guess who she's) walking, presented in flattened and stretched out through yellowish lens whereas slowly blanckness passing over her, and there has been given a vast hints what will going to happen in next. It's the story about two girls with not just having same faces but also having strange connections so that they can feel each other's appearances without even knowing each other personally.
And there starts their's stories. They both have their own individual lifeline but one's way of taking descision and experience have given another's a little kick. It's something which arguably some of twins can feel...like if one somehow gets hurt then another can feel his pain. But here story is about weronika who lives in Poland and veronique who lives in France. Film first focuses on Weronika who is a brilliant singer goes to his aunt's house at Krakaw where she gets an opportunity to perform as lead singer. She has strong voice but unfortunately hasn't got a strong heart. Soon she has expired due to a sudden heart attack while performing in concert. That scene is brilliantly portrayed. A tight closeup to Irene Jacob's face while she's singing in high pitch soon we can feel her frustration as she's fighting with intense pain. We see the conductor who instruct others looking towards her. And within next few second weronika falls down and camera is also set up in such way that we can see what weronika has seen on that time when she falls. Then camera goes back and flits eerily over the audience, as if her soul is passing past overhead. Following by next scene where we see again Weronika's gaze when others throw soil in her grave. Weronika part of the story looks more stylish inspite of getting lesser timespan over the story of Veronique as obvius as there are too many shots captured by small and clear reflections by multiple mirrors...those are again phenomenal. Reflection images in Weronika's part somehow indicates the fact there's someone who's looked like exactly similar to her. After the death of Weronika when the story shifts to Veronique's part of the story atfirst we see her sad in the middle of a sexual intercourse in a dim light. She doesn't know why she's sad but for someone she's grieving. Followed by next scene where she's giving up music professionally as a singer as somehow she can sense her heart cannot take the music. She doesn't know but Weronika's expiration makes her feel alone and also cautious about her physical health. Then ultimately by some visually dense, emotionally charged sets of beautiful scenes we have met Alexander..for whom Veronique can feel a sudden flame of affection. In the midst of her unexplainable lonesome feeling Veronique has seen a puppeteer in a mirror who controls some puppets by his hands for telling the story of a balley duncer whoose passion for dancing has gone with her life permanently, finally becomes a butterfly and flies away...very much equivalent to Weronika's story.
There are plenty of Visual symbolism, references and little details which needs carefull attention to decode, I always felt attracted to those details of Kieslowski what he has placed with his camera...even though I amn't be able to get them totally. Some earlier scenes are appearing as just meaningless lines of a wonderful rhyme which got their rhythms by some latter scenes. It's really been pleasure to read and feel such poem which offers you opportunity to find the rhythms between consecutive lines by yourself. Take an example: There is a shoelace which plays a significant roles to show us the connection of those two similar looking lady. In Weronika's part of the story just a string very much similar to that shoelace in appearance sets up a wonderful details that comments on the confliction of her mind in choosing her interest in music over her physcical health. In an earlier scene Weronika having sex with her lover and just like a typical Kielowski's film it doesn't focus on sexual intercourse in between its characters rather than camera observes Weronika's hand, how she grips twisting her fingers in the strings of her blanket in course having a painful physical pleasure. We don't understand the necessity of watching her hand for that time but latter on we have seen Weronika gripping and twisting her fingers in same way in lace of her music case contained necessary files. That signifies she got a pleasure whenever she sings but certainly that's painful. And we have seen in next few seen how singing song leads her to an awful cardiac arrest. That's the beauty of Kielowski's storytelling. In Veronique's part of the story she got a shoelace as a gift of her lover Alexander(he's then unfamiliar to hidden affection for him in Veronique's mind). Veronique feels a certain dejavu after seeing that shoelace, she connects it with her own music-case lace, similar to Weronika’s, without realizing why. Though we never can know why tf anyone would give his lover a shoelace? May be Alexander is trying to do a thought experiment which unravels the mystery of such peculiar feelings what we have felt so occasionally. Or may be he knew Weronika and her habits. May be he just want to make sure Veronique and Weronika have feelings and connections for each other.. or may be he just want to write an another book which tells the story of Weronika and Veronique so he now about to collect some practical explanation which has been needed to write his upcoming book. What's true we never know. There has drawn even a brief but interesting confliction of Veronique's mind what judges the identity and intentions of Alexander..as she needs to be sure, can Alexander feel the same way for her as what she feels for him. She leaves the cafe and hides behind a door from where she observes Alexander in brightly colored glass panes..he appears first in green(symbolizes refreshness and reincarnation), then in red(symbolizes passionate love), then in fuzzy bluriness. It's just few mere example of how two different lines having parallel rhythms in one of Kielowski's masterpiece poems..but there are lots of more. In Kielowski's films music and BGM always gets a important role in storytelling besides it's fascinating subject and visually attractive sequences. The score with the green-yellow-red lighting and somewhere mixture of any two of these three colours creates the mood the film which definitely hints about it's melancholic yet existential subject matter along with the themes of love, feelings and death.
There're lots of things which can never get finished in limited numbers of words but what can I say for now I.e there's not any way to resolve every visual mysteries what Kielowski has presented to us, they are like as they are. No matter how much you have thought about them but you may never find any specific explanation to unfold those mysteries..it may never possible to know who's the lady beside the judges at the time of selecting Weronika as lead singer. It may not possible to give proper explanation why the lady was so angry to Weronika. We can never be sure is she the same lady who is observing Veronique too at the cafe where she meets with Alexander.. we can never find proper reason of why Veronique finds a sudden attraction towards a completely unknown unfamiliar person. We can never know why Alexander chooses Veronique for his lover. We can never know what's Alexander's proper intentions. We can never know why Veronique and Weronika have same faces and similar feelings..we can never be sure if there are some hidden messages or not...and moreover this whole film had just made only by those basic "why"s and "how"s coming so oftenly in our mind which haven't made any sense at all but we can't just ignore them.
🔙Ship Of Theseus(2012)...
●FOREIGN FILMS RANKED: HERE
●KIESLOWSKI ALL FILMS RANKED: HERE