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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

La Double Vie De Veronique (aka The Double Life Of Veronique) (1991)

Two young women (both played by Irene Jacob) live parallel lives, one in Poland and the other in France. They are unaware of each other though each senses the presence of an "other". One of them dies early in the film, leaving the other to piece together the mystery which is, of course, ultimately unsolvable. I love the complex simplicity with which director Krzysztof Kieslowski moves the narrative forward. It could so easily have veered into the obtuse pretentiousness of something like LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD but Kieslowski realizes his enigma doesn't need the repetitive layers to make his cinematic puzzle more absorbing. Jacob (made up and lit to look like Juliette Binoche, the star of Kieslowski's TROIS COULEURS: BLEU) gives just enough of a subtle difference that we are able to tell the two Veroniques (called Weronicka in Poland) apart. Philippe Volter is the puppeteer whose obvious symbolism can be forgiven. Zbigniew Preisner's score calls attention to itself though I understand it's intentional and the cinematographer Slawomir Idziak bathes the film with his stylized use of colors and filters that even Sirk would applaud.

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