There are two very similar girls in the world with the same name. Veronika lives in Poland, who has a wonderful voice and begins to perform on stage. Another Veronica lives in France, who also dreams of singing, but she fails to fulfill her desire and she plunges headlong into the joys of love … As if something invisible binds them: when one life path ends, the other seems to pick it up and continue it a life…
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Has it ever seemed to you that somewhere deep inside you is hidden something unknown, borderline, something that in the chaos of thoughts of a difficult moment always throws up the right answer? And, perhaps, this force does pull the lifeline to the full depth of fate, and it is she, and not will, logic, habit that predetermines decisions and actions? Has it ever seemed that somewhere in this world there should be a person who is close to you like no other, and this is not necessarily a passion, but what is commonly called a soul mate, a soul mate? Did it seem that the line of your life should be drawn in some other way: in a different place, with different people, at a different time?
The Double Life of Veronica is not an answer, but an attempt to provide answers to these questions. âA film about receptivity, intuition, irrational connections between people,â as the author Krzysztof KieÅlowski himself described it. The first third tells about a twenty-year-old Polish woman named Veronica, the owner of a heavenly soprano and heavenly eyes. All her life she carries with her a strange feeling that she is ânot aloneâ in this world. Walking one day along the square of the protest Krakow, the heroine notices the departing bus of a foreign excursion, and in it – a girl who looks like two peas in a pod. There is a belief that a meeting with a doppelganger is a bad omen… But this foreigner, of course, is not a double ghost, but a real person. Veronica French has similar gestures, grace, facial expressions, habits, and she is also busy with music. And when the Polish namesake falls to the ground from a heart attack during a concert, in distant Paris she is seized by an attack of causeless melancholy, as if she felt an invisible connection break, the loss of something fundamentally important.
Perhaps no other work by KieÅlowski had so many different interpretations. Someone tried to find answers in the plot, someone understood it on a sensual-intuitive level, and someone looked for the author’s personal or global allusions. Probably all are right. However, Krzysztof himself said more than once that often in his films they find such associations that he himself did not even think about, but this, perhaps, is the magic of a talented creator, the result of which is always wider than the plan, and, perhaps, the point is quirks of the artist’s subconscious, subtext putting other meanings into the work.
I must say that it is extremely difficult to imagine a similar movie about a man. It plunges into the inner world of a person who does not think, namely, âfeeling what he must doâ and living, guided solely by this inner compass. His fate is not a plan drawn by logical conclusions, but a trajectory that is drawn on the go, on a whim. Maybe that’s why it is precisely the female nature, especially emotional, especially intuitive in strength, to feel the presence of a twin somewhere on the other side of the old world. Who knows what could have happened when two Veronikas met. This is probably the main tragedy that a person can face – the absence of someone close who could feel and comprehend you completely. Still, indeed, happiness is when you are understood, and Kieslowski’s film is about this as well.
But no matter how feminine âDouble Lifeâ is, one cannot get rid of the feeling that this is also a projection of the double life of the author himself. The first tape, shot by Kieslowski mainly abroad with foreign money, actually gave his career a new “French” twist. It can be assumed that it reflects the torn consciousness of the director himself, who is already plunging into a new, including cinematic reality, but not losing his roots. The gifted Veronica in Krakow is cut down by a myocardial infarction, but she continues to live in her Parisian incarnation, and is this not a metaphor for Polish cinematography, which is not able to fully realize itself in its homeland and therefore sends its best chicks to the west and especially to France?
And in this case, of course, one cannot fail to find here figurative political associations with Poland as a country of the Warsaw Pact and, accordingly, with its âceilingâ, limitations, and shortcomings. That is why “Double Life” is so mirrorlike, since it was released in 1991 – a landmark year, a turning point for both the state itself and the camp as a whole, and subconsciously reflects its future fate, doomed to the inevitable death of old foundations, but finding new breath in the western winds . Itâs even funny that native criticism fell upon Kieslowski, a director who often raised acute social topics in his Polish period, for allegedly filming something distant at such an important moment for the country.
The picture of “Double Life” is magnificent and unique – there is a feeling that you are looking at it through colored glass. The effect is achieved through the use of golden-yellow filters, as well as a kind of glass barrier installed between the camera and the stage space. Irene Jacob (the main prize for the best actress at Cannes) looks at the world through Assolya’s eyes, there is a feeling that it is she who directs every scene, and the film itself is drawn solely on her sensuality, although Krzysztof actually remained the only filmmaker capable of fully reveal her gift.
But with all the indisputable advantages, one cannot but mention the terrible shortcomings. And they are included in the script. Despite the originality of the idea, it was not possible to take advantage of all its advantages. “Double Life” is actually devoid of a clear storyline, the only intelligible turning point of which is the transition from the story of one heroine to another. For the rest, there is a feeling that the authorâs intention was simply to show the character of the character through several âepisodes from lifeâ, but these episodes are generally banal and not impressive, there could well have been some others instead, and from that the value is lost. It is even amusing that, in fact, about two dozen variations of “Veronika” were mounted, and Kieslowski’s plan was to show different versions in each cinema (fortunately, for reasons beyond his control, this was not realized). And what we see in the end is just one of those options. Sometimes even experienced craftsmen lose their sense of proportion in pursuit of experiments. In view of the script flaws, there is no intelligible ending – “Double Life” ends in mid-sentence.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (58.1 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.66:1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, French SDH.