The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

The Double Life of Veronique
Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz
(number 418)

Irene Jacob is perfection in this movie, as both Veronique and Weronika, two different but interconnected women who look identical and share a metaphysical bond. This film is a French/Polish collaboration but it felt very French, the casualness of the exposed breasts of the lead actress, showing a man going down on a woman on camera… these things are so not what you’d see in a Hollywood film, and I value them so much for it.

I don’t know how to describe this movie beyond ‘beautiful and calm’. It felt like the forerunner of Amelie, maybe, and it made me want to watch those newer movies about doppelgangers which came out at the same time last year.

The first half of the movie is Weronkia, a Polish singer who wins a competition and enjoys a rich family life. The second half of the movie is Veronique’s.. I don’t want to spoil the movie so I won’t go into more plot. I will say instead that this movie almost certainly needs to be watched more than once, and I intend to watch it again sometime soon.

It’s lush, the greens and greys of the colour palette suiting the mood of the film perfectly, the classical music refrains coming back and back. The sudden realisation that the camera angle is suddenly point of view, and how delightful it feels when it happens. There are lots of little great moments in this film, and I relished them. Such a nice change from the male dominated cast films I’ve been watching off this list.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely, I adore Weronika and Veronique, they both have a lust for life, the old joie de vivre, and a healthy approach to sex. They both are thoughtful and intuitive, loving to the people around them.

Bechdel test: Yes, Veronique talks to Catherine and Nicole about ‘the plan’. Mostly when either Weronika or Veronique are talking to other women it’s about a man or to a woman who isn’t actually named beyond ‘the aunt’ or something, but that one conversation counts. I had hoped they would talk to each other but it’s not to be.

Best line:

Weronika: What else do you want to know about me?
Alexandre Fabbri: Everything
Weronika: [picks up her purse and gently dumps the contents on the bed in front of him]

State of Mind: Lovely, beautiful and enchanting movie, will definitely be watching it again. Maybe one of my favourite surprises from this list.

Watched movie count

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