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The Double Life of Veronique
Movie Poster for Kieślowski's The Double Life of Veronique
Directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski
Produced by Leonardo De La Fuente
Written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Krzysztof Kieślowski
Music by Zbigniew Preisner
Cinematography by Sławomir Idziak
Editing by Jacques Witta
Release Date 1991
Running Time 98 min.
Language Romanian
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The Double Life of Veronique

This is the story of two strangers with the same face and the same name. They’ve never met. But they have a strange intuition that they’re bound to somebody else, somewhere. Irene Jacob won the Best Actress award at Cannes for playing both of them—Weronika, a sensual soprano living in Poland, and Vèronique, a melancholy music teacher living in France.

One Veronique, a singer, captivates a teacher—and eventually an audience—by performing with extraordinary passion. In her glorious performances, she seems to be trying to break through to heaven.

The other Véronique, seeking something that will fulfill a sense of incompleteness, becomes enchanted by a mysterious puppeteer. Who is he? Is he cruel and controlling? Or is he benevolent, leaving clues like breadcrumbs so she will follow him into a new kind of intimacy?

Kieslowski’s most enigmatic film traces the edges that divide one life from another, and the tenuous cords that unite them. While the characters face different challenges and fall for different lovers, they are compelled by very similar longings. To say much more than that about the story would be to risk spoiling its many surprises. While this is the project that set the stage aesthetically for Krzysztof Kieslowski’s masterful Three Colors trilogy—Blue, White, and Red—it is more mysterious and alluring than any of those films.

And it should be celebrated as a masterpiece of collaboration. The contributions of Kieslowski and Jacob are equaled by Slawomir Idziak’s masterful cinematography, which transforms light into an active and engaging character. Zbigniew Preisner’s music is what it always is in Kieslowski’s work—a vital piece of the puzzle, essential to any interpretation of the whole.

—Jeffrey Overstreet

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