The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★½


The first Kieslowski film I ever saw, before I was remotely attuned to the idea of cinema as a legitimate artform and only started watching foreign (i.e., non-English speaking) films to appear intelligent. Whoops. But despite my harrowing lack of knowledge or context, younger-me was spellbound by the vibrant and luscious photography, to the extent that I vividly remember rewinding several sequences to marvel repeatedly. A select few shots in particular—the water vapor against the alleyway light that reflects above Weronika's face; the triptych split of green/gold/red delineated by Véronique's head as she talks on the phone; the POV from the casket—flabbergasted me in an "I didn't know films could look this good" sort of way. The narrative, alas, left me comparatively underwhelmed. Then again, this was back when anything without a clear Point-A --> Point-B trajectory felt somehow incomplete to me, so I’d wager a guess that upon revisiting, this would be much less of an issue, if one at all. I did love the parallels that Kieslowski drew, in any case; irrelevant or not, they hinted at deeper metaphysical connections that linger long after the film ended. Some of the segments—e.g. Véronique's insta-infatuation with the puppeteer—are stodgy compared to the whimsical ruminative tethers, but I owe this one another viewing for a more accurate score. I will say, though, it was singlehandedly responsible for catalyzing my interest in foreign/art films, ergo it can't be all that bad.

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