Friday, April 25, 2008

To be not alone (Film: The Double Life of Veronique)


The Double Life of Veronique is one of those films that makes me feel, hear, see, taste everthing I come into contact with more intensely for a while after I see it. By Polish/French director Krysztof Kieslowski (who made Red, White, and Blue) it is a dreamy fairy tale of two women, doubles of each other, one living in France, the other in Poland. They're not really aware of each other and yet in their innermost thoughts they sense the other's presence. It is about the pain of being truly alone, and also knowing what it is like not to be alone. There is a wonderful romantic story line in which Veronique falls in love with a puppeteer who creates a tragic and beautiful puppet show at the school where she teaches. I love the musical theme which figures importantly in this film. After I first saw it, it ran through my head for days and days. It is visual poetry, shot with a lovely softness and with inventive use of camera angels to add to the dream-like quality Kieslowski goes for to suggest the link between the two women's lives without explaining it. The greatest strength of this film is how it takes a mysterious experience and renders it whole on film without ruining its mystery. It is one of my favorite films.

13 comments:

Sheila O'Malley said...

One of my favorite films of all time.

The puppet scene!!!!

Ted said...

That puppet show makes me hold my breath! It is exquisite.

Alexandre FABBRI said...

It's a mystery.

Ted said...

AF - A mystery indeed. You seem to be even more of a fan than I!

Sheila O'Malley said...

For some reason the scene where one of the two girls is singing in her choir outside - and it starts raining and everyone scatters - but she keeps singing, her face wet with rain ... It just haunts me.

Ted said...

S - That scene you mention is so...pure. I love the Polish Veronika's aunt - do you remember her? And how the French Veronique goes out immediately and buys all of the puppeteer/author's books - I so recognize that. How else to know him? And the cassette tape he sends her with the cafe waitress who says "Pardon, pardon," in that sing-song way. The game of that tape prefigured the whole playful romance in Amelie. I feel like that part of Amelie is an homage to this film.

Sheila O'Malley said...

I don't remember the aunt! Man, I must see it again. Yes, that cassette tape scene just gives me goosebumps.

Imani said...

The scenes of her singing before she collapses...! Best. Movie. Ever. I got so excited when I saw the title. :)

Ted said...

Imani - I love that you love this movie too! That shot of her view of being taken from the theater after she collapses and then seeing herself buried - brrrr - makes me shiver.

Allison said...

I love this film. My very favorite movie!

Alexandre Fabbri said...

Enthusiasts of the films of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski (Blind Chance, Dekalog, The Double Life of Véronique, Three Colours Trilogy, etc) are invited to drop by my chatroom at the Brasserie Alizé on the anniversary of the director’s death, this coming Friday evening, 13 March 2009, from around 18:00 GMT. Please pass on the invitation to others and hopefully see you there!

Oscar said...

I have had to watch the movie more than twice to get sth more than just the visual beauty of it, still don't think I've got the point on it.

Ted said...

Oscar - personally, I think it is worth multiple viewings.