56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely welcome issue on DVD
Following the release of just about everything else the late great Krzystof Kieslowski made on DVD ('Blind Chance', 'Camera Buff', 'No End', 'The Scar', 'A Short Film About Killing', 'A Short Film About Love', 'The Dekalog' & 'The Three Colours Trilogy') it seemed odd that these key work that came between 'The Dekalog' & 'Three Colours' did not appear (I expect...
Published on 27 Feb 2006 by Jason Parkes
4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to make of this one...
Well, this is a weird one, long and ambling, not making much sense, not rated high on the entertainment factor. But, at the same time, it's thought provoking, and keeps you guessing. I think it needs to be watched a second time to make any sense of it. If I can be bothered.
Published on 24 Feb 2009 by Mrs. Y. M. Mariess
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely welcome issue on DVD,
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] (DVD)Following the release of just about everything else the late great Krzystof Kieslowski made on DVD ('Blind Chance', 'Camera Buff', 'No End', 'The Scar', 'A Short Film About Killing', 'A Short Film About Love', 'The Dekalog' & 'The Three Colours Trilogy') it seemed odd that these key work that came between 'The Dekalog' & 'Three Colours' did not appear (I expect this was down to the dual identity of the film?).
Released in 1991, 'La Double Vie De Veronique'/'Podwonjne Zycie Werokiki' found Kieslowski working outside of Poland for the first time after the Iron Curtain had fallen. Due to the fact it can't be read as a political metaphor as his preceding work post 'Camera Buff' it confounded many - unlike 'Dekalog' & 'Three Colours' it couldn't be directly related to The Ten Commandments or the French Tri-Colour. In that way 'The Double Life of Veronique' feels closest to Tom Twyker's adaptation of Kieslowski/Piesiewicz's 'Heaven' which was filmed posthumously (& part of an uncompleted trilogy the two Krzystof's were working on based on 'The Divine Comedy').
The film begins in Poland as Weronika (Irene Jacob) a singer has portent of something to come - a key scene finds her double Veronique (Irene Jacob) take a photo of Weronika. Shortly after, Weronika collapses at a concert and dies - two scenes here are extremely powerful, one where Weronika has an out of body experience near a bench and the grim shot from her grave. The film shifts to France, and from death we meet Veronique once more in the throes of passion with her lover.
Veronique is not unlike Weronika in that she physically resembles her, has a beautiful singing voice and suffers from a similar heart condition. Veronique opts to reject the singing career that lead to Weronika's death and becomes a teacher, crossing paths with Alexandre a puppeteer whose enigmatic qualities attract Veronique. Later she begins to receive oblique messages - a shoe lace, a tape recording of a cafe, an empty cigar box. This leads in turn to Alexandre and the forgotten photographs Veronique took of Weronika during a riot - Alexandre thought the photo was of Veronique but it is in fact Weronika. Veronique realises she has a double, the revelation eventually leading her home in Kieslowski's enigmatic delight.
'The Double Life of Veronique' is a magical work, at one point Kieslowski wanted to release multiple versions, each with a minor difference be that extra scene or alternate cut. I feel it's one of those works you can lose yourself in, or rather, to - think "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", the poetry of Rilke, Cocteau's 'Orphee', or Bulgakov's 'The Master & Margarita.' I'm not sure what Kieslowski & Piesiewicz are saying - something to do with the dual identity of Europe (France to Poland as Veronique to Weronika?)? Something to do with death? Something to do with fate?...but it has the clarity of the greatest dreams and feels somewhat neglected coming between the feted 'Dekalog/Short Films About...' & the celebrated 'Three Colours.' An enchanting work that is extremely welcome issued on DVD and a great work of cinema equal to such European masters as Bergman, Bresson, Cocteau, Fellini, & Tarkovsky. It's also one of the great films of the 1990s and a reminder of what was lost when Kieslowski died - part of his great oeuvre and one to discover, rediscover now on DVD...
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Kieslowski Film,
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] (DVD)I think that "The Double Life of Veronique" is not a film to be over-analysed as some reviewers seem to have done , but one simply to be enjoyed for what it is; a poetic and lyrical love story, filmed beautifully and illuminated throughout by the radiant Irene Jacobs, in the role of Weronika/Veronique. The film is in two halves; the first half is in Poland , but it then switches suddenly to Paris after the Polish Weronika has a chance encounter with her identical lookalike Veronique, with whom she shares many other similarities as well. This film,with it's lighter themes of love and fate, is somewhat more uplifting than many of Kieslowski's other ,more downbeat, films about death ,broken relationships and unhappiness and as a result is a more enjoyable one to watch.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary, luminous film,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [VHS]  (VHS Tape)Veronique is an endlessly fascinating film - thought-provoking, moving, and extraordinarily beautiful. Kieslowski never dictates to his audiences, leaving them room for their own imaginative worlds to interact with his work.. he provides inspiration but not instruction. I find in this film an exploration of the human condition - the desire to know and be known by another, the wish to be understood without question, and (perhaps) the futility of that desire.
Irene Jacob, in the bilingual double title role, is luminous, communicating more in a glance or a sigh than pages of dialogue could provide. Suddenly bereft of her feeling of not being alone in the world, she seeks someone else to know her, thinking she may have found that intuitive connection with a mysterious puppeteer, but there is little room for certainty in this imaginative, emotive, philosophical film.
Cinematographically, it is superb, every shot a glowing construction of high art, and the soundtrack goes straight to the heart. I originally saw it in the cinema and was thunderstruck. I WISH they'd release a DVD, as my video tape is wearing thin! I cannot recommend it too highly.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double lives,
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] (DVD)One of Krzysztof Kieslowski's finest films is "The Double Life of Veronique" ("La Double vie de V'ronique"). It's not just a philosophical, arty film, but a subtle and unique tale full of Kieslowski's directorial magic, and gives Ir'ne Jacob a chance to shine in her most challenging role.
There are two women, the Polish Weronika and the French Veronique (both played by Ir'ne Jacob). They have never met, never spoken, and do not know that the other exists. They share the same losses and the same health. Weronika is a singer, and Veronique is taking singing lessons. But their lives and souls are bound together, and their personalities are yin-yang opposites, one practical and one a stargazer.
What is more, each has the strange feeling that she is, somehow, not alone in the world. One night, Weronika dies onstage while singing. Suddenly in France, Veronique is stricken with a strange feeling, and stops taking her lessons. Weronika has died, but she still lives. Soon she begins to explore, searching for the truth about her double life, and a strange puppeteer who somehow is a link between both girls.
"Double Life of Veronique" is one of those rare films that just begs to be analyzed. Is it about being puppets in some enormous scheme of things? About fate? Sacrifice? Love? One woman's soul in two bodies? Political symbolism? Or is it simply about some mysterious dimension of the spiritual? The symbols and metaphors can be unwound any which way, and in the end they all work. Even the ending is ambiguous -- is it happy, or sad?
Krzysztof Kieslowski's direction is impeccable. His use of light and shadow, and the atmospheric music, make "Double Life" practically a work of art. He dots "Double Life" with plenty of little hints about the inner states of the characters. The stars and leaves, for example, hint at the personalities of Weronika and Veronique -- one a dreamer, one down-to-earth. Kieslowski also used a minimalist approach to dialogue, often using pauses and silence that speak louder than the ordinary words.
At times this film seems like a love letter on film to Ir'ne Jacob. Not only is she followed constantly by the camera, but her character is difficult but rewarding. Jacob shines without really seeming to, with the emotion and wonder of a small child in an adult body. Philippe Volter's aura of mystery adds to his excellent acting in his too-brief scenes. Unfortunately, few of the other characters are given much dimension -- the whole focus is on Weronika and Veronique.
This bewitching tale of love, loss, and interconnected souls winds a spell around this film. Interpret it as you will. Kieslowski's "Double Life of Veronique" is exquisite.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Veronique is unique,
The Blu Ray transfer is beautiful and exactly catches all the nuances of the film with ease. After a couple of minutes you stop thinking about the technical wonder of clarity and just become absorbed in the story and the characters. It doesn't get much better than this.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality is stranger than fiction.,
Kieslowski intertwines two seemingly separate stories of two young women miles apart in a masterful way which leaves you wondering: could this be? Theses two women never actually meet in the movie - except for a very brief moment where they get very close and one accidentally takes a snapshot of the other - and yet when viewing this film there isn't a moment of doubt: they share a connection. This connection is hardly ever mentioned explicitly by any character in the movie. It's only suggested. The two main characters share the same ticks and behavior, their lives are seemingly very similar, the environment they live in shares the same details. And it goes on. It all ads up to a very captivating movie which leaves you with a feeling of loss - but not in a bad way. I guess you need to be polish to make movies like this.
About the Bluray: excellent picture and sound quality. No problems there I think. The bonus material on this Bluray is most interesting: Kieslowski explains in a series of interviews what mechanics make this movie work. Makes me want to make movies like him ^_^
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent BD,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Update: The disc does have some grain filtering applied (which I missed at first due to watching it with a too dark projector) which leaves some artifacting behind. If you want to see the full grain get the US Criterion disc.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quiet and contemplative film to take to heart,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [VHS]  (VHS Tape)A huge favourite film of mine for many years now, The Double Life of Veronique is shot entirely in Sepia and doesn't contain a lot of dialogue or many hints towards what the film may or not represent. Ostensibly a story of two identical girls who have never met, the film follows the lives of the girls without casting judgement on their actions until a key event leaves the audience with a sense of imbalance.
A film to lose yourself in, and to watch over and over again...
55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The murky puddles of the mind.,
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] (DVD)Two countries, two women, one link... These are the clues we are given by Kieslowski in order to piece together Veronique's central mystery. It is, without question, a cinematic masterpiece, one of those rare, elliptical works of cinema that on first appearance seems to present two separate narratives unfolding in succession, with the director linking them through coincidence, chance and uncertainty. However, those familiar with Kieslowski and his work will know that this particular director would never make a film of such simplicity, and there is more information to be divulged as we wade through the murky puddles of the character's mind(s).
The story begins in Poland, where we find the adolescent Veronika singing opera with her school choir. After getting caught in a rainstorm she goes home and makes love to her older boyfriend... so already we have themes of sex, music and the passage into womanhood, three very important factors that will resurface throughout the course of the film. Later in the story, Veronika gets the chance to audition for a highly prestigious opera company, but dies on stage before the audition is over. The story now moves to France where we meet Veronique - an older, though identical incarnation of Veronika - who works as a music teacher for an elementary school. It is at this point when most viewers begin to become baffled by the strange adjustment of the character, but in reality, no change has occurred. On the night of the audition, Veronika's death is a metaphorical one, and the sense of anxiety conjured by this important event causes her to faint away, thus losing the job.
So, when we meet the same woman some time later she has remained in France and taken the job teaching music at the school. All other events surrounding the 'death' are symbolic and subjective of Veronika/Veronique's guilt and embarrassment (...note the point of view shot from within the grave and its roots in dream-logic). It is only after exploring the world as Veronique and seeking out surrogate father figures (or indeed, lovers) that the character is able to escape into one of her father's picturesque painting and find forgiveness from her family... or so it seems? This is merely one interpretation of the central events of the film, which, along with the later Three Colours Trilogy, demonstrates Kieslowski's interest in subjective realities layered upon various coincidental narrative view-points. From this, it is easy to see the director's attempt to fill his story with other stories that grow from the central narrative and either depict, or dictate, Veronique's state of mind.
Here we have the themes of the opera, the performance of the marionettes, various confessional monologues, as well as the more conventional ideas of coming of age and growing sexual awareness, alongside the assorted political ideologies at work within the subtext. It's a particularly remarkable achievement in so much that the director takes us on a cerebral and emotional journey through one woman's psyche without any of us being fully aware of quite what is happening. As a result of this, the film works on multiple levels and, although it might be something of a cliché to point out (lest we forget that a cliché is full of truth... that's what makes it a cliché) but the film offers viewers the chance to interpret the images in situations however they desire, meaning that the overall film will have a different impact on everyone who views it, marking it out as a haunting dream of a film begging to be explored.
This notion is further explored with the use of cinematography - which is spellbinding throughout - with the director and his esteemed cameraman Slavomir Idziak employing all manner of colour tints and strange optical filters (as they had done previously with A Short Film About Killing and would continue on their next project, Blue), to paint both Poland and Paris as strange, gothic, ethereal dreamscapes that manage to convey the character's inner-emotions, as opposed to simply creating a mood. Of course, none of this would be possible without the stunning and intricate performance of Irene Jacob, who, unlike most actresses of her age, is able to exist naturally in two completely different worlds, whilst simultaneously presenting us with two very different characters.
The fact that she is able to build such a subtle and invisible symbiosis between the two, whilst leaving the viewer completely oblivious to any broader sub-textual implications, is an astonishing achievement in itself. The Double Life of Veronique remains one of the defining works of European cinema in the 90's and is easily one of the greatest and most iconic films ever created by the late, great Kieslowski. Relish it now on DVD.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent music,
This review is from: The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] (DVD)Great film with music that takes your breath away. you can really get into the story just by listening to the music.
Saw the film when it first came out in 91, not seen it since but it had a real impact on me and I still listen to the soundtrack 26 years on..
Buy it and love it.
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The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD] by Krzysztof Kieslowski (DVD - 2006)