Two Enigmatic Women Lead Parallel Lives in the Arthouse Favorite ‘The Double Life of Véronique’

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click to enlarge Two Enigmatic Women Lead Parallel Lives in the Arthouse Favorite ‘The Double Life of Véronique’
Janus Films
Krzysztof Kieślowski had been making acclaimed films in Poland before this international co-production officially made him an arthouse star. Shot in Poland and France, it spins the mystical, off-handed story of two unrelated women, both played by Irène Jacob, who lead parallel lives. For example, they both make a living through music, and they even see each other in a crowd when the French version visits Poland as a tourist. They conveniently symbolize the interdependent fates of Eastern and Western Europe, but be forewarned that the film offers no pat explanation — because its mysteries are precisely the point. Kieślowski believed that our lives are connected by chance in ways unfathomable to us, a theme he’d explored in his 10-part TV serial Dekalog and developed further in his Three Colors trilogy. Above all, this is a psychological and symphonic exercise in cinema, as Kieślowski drenches the film in lush music and dreamy color-filtered photography, all the better to launch Jacob’s luminous double presence.

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