The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★★

The Double Life of Veronique was re-watched as my fourth MISTRESS-movie.

This was my first meeting with Kieslowski back in the day. I instantly knew I had found a new favorite director that would stay with me. In a few days I watched his entire 90's-catalogue, which is this and his Three Colors-trilogy. On first impressions this and Red came out tied, just ahead of Blue and quite a bit ahead of White--which I found less intriguing. This movie and Red have stayed with me ever since, but somehow--as time have passed--Red have in memory been held closer to my heart. I knew I was very fond of both, but these are the kind of movies I really need several viewings of to quite figure how dear they really are to me (it was the same with movies like Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine of my Spotless Mind, now two of my personal favorites most dear to me).

According to memory I didn't review it last time around, thankfully. It's not an easy movie to review, mostly because words can't do it justice and rather seems to only downplay its brilliance. It's a little easier this time around. Not because it's less brilliant in my eyes, but rather the opposite. Now I know I love it, and ironically it makes it easier. Love isn't supposed to be rationally explained, much like this movie never was meant to. You don't love the kindest person, the prettiest girl, or the smartest; you love despite their flaws, and you love the complete package--not just the best parts.

The Double Life of Veronique is the essential movie. It takes every possible element of the medium's possibilities, and with a masters touch it comes together to a masterpiece.

Zbigniew Preisner's score doesn't elevate parts of the movie or manipulate our emotions at critical stages. It is rather an integral part of the movie. Its opera theme is heavenly.

Slawomir Idziak's cinematography is the same thing. It isn't about capturing or creating beautiful shots, or just capturing what unfolds. It rather creates emotions on its own as well as in combination with every other element of the movie.

Kieslowski and regular partner in crime, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, has written a movie that combine top notch performances into something larger than life. You can dissect it and try to understand every meaning of it as you unwrap every layer, but some of its magic is best suited for not applying rational thoughts to everything. Rather just use it as inspiration to ponder on the possibilities on your own.

Last, but certainly not least, I'll consider Irène Jacob's part of the movie. I fell completely in love with Jacob when I first watched this and Red. Later I've collected several of her other performances, but somehow I've never managed to watch a single one of them. Somehow it seems wrong to apply a lesser director than Kieslowski to her talent, and I guess I'd rather just always keep her in my heart as Weronika, Véronique and Valentine. One of these days I'll break that spell, but I simply can't imagine her in other hands ever coming close to this.

Jacob is mesmerizing in this. So much so that there's multiple times I'm afraid I miss everything else on screen at the time. I simply find myself unable to take my eyes of her. It's not because of her beauty, but because she's also able to be an emotional sensor that catches everything. Along with director Kieslowski using Idziak's, Preisner's and the work of everyone else on the project, her performance create powerful emotional scenes that stays with you.

And Kieslowski is really at the top of his game here. He certainly have great artists helping him, but the way he puts everything together is magical, sensual, haunting, beautiful and thought-provoking, and often everything at once. It leaves you in awe. There's so many scenes in this movie that are spectacular in different ways, picking just one--or a few--to highlight wouldn't be worthy of the whole. Needless to say there's more than one moment and scene in this movie that makes me want to freeze it in time and enjoy it for hours or days...

I simply can't recommend it highly enough.

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