Watched Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique yesterday. It's been many years since I watched it, but I've always retained a positive memory of all the films of his I've watched. It's an unusual film, but one that feels very 90's euro art film to me, though I can't back that up with anything specific. It's story is one that makes me wonder where Kieslowski and his writing partner Krzysztof Piesiewicz got the idea from. The film starts with Weronika, a young Polish woman with a lovely singing voice. At one point she sees someone who looks exactly like her taking photos of a protest and getting into a tour bus. At one point in the movie Weronika dies and then the movie transitions over to showing that other identical woman, Veronique, a young French music teacher. The film follows her and an odd set-up for a romance that starts. Towards the end, her new boyfriend, in looking at the contact sheet of her photos from a trip to Poland, notices Weronika.
I think if I watched it again I would notice more connections between the two women, it feels like there should be overlapping narrative or symbolic elements. There are some just in regards to music, but overall the story doesn't do anything really explicit to parallel the two women. There's no cutting back and forth between them, for instance, or any indications that they are secretly related or twins or anything like that. But there are moments where there seems to be a connection. The latter mentions a moment where she suddenly feels like she is alone in the world, clearly referencing the death of the former. But the connection remains a mystery, the fact of the existence of two identical women is left unexplained.
Some movies are heavily dependent on the lead actor, and this is certainly one of those, Irene Jacob carries the movie with her presence. She is in every scene, the focalization never leaves Weronika/Veronique, though we do very rarely see things that they miss (late in the movie, Veronique is in a train station, and one of the women from the first part of the movie clearly sees her and is surprised to see a women who looks just the dead singer, but nothing comes of it, it's just in the background). Irene Jacob is really powerful in this, and it's weird to me that the only other thing I can think of with her is Kieslowski's Red (which I also mean to rewatch).
Two times in the movie (once for each of the women) she looks right at the camera, in a surprising way, especially for a film that is otherwise firmly behind the fourth wall. The lighting in the movie seemed really green to me, I'm not sure if that's a result of lighting or film stock, but it had to be intentional. It suffused the film in an odd way, that I can't quite explain, but it was beautiful. One scene beautifully contrasted that green light with a red one.
Seems like a movie I should rewatch before I forget too much of it, as I expect there's more to be seen in it, than I got out of a single viewing.
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