Monday, May 14, 2007

La Double Vie de Veronique (The Double Life of Véronique)

From one of the Gods of French cinema Polish born Krzysztof Kieslowski this magnificent film tells the story of two girls born in different countries, to different parents and with different lives that are equally the same and both are gifted with a beautiful voice and a weak heart. The only difference is that one is more spiritual while the other is earthier and consequently what happens to one the other avoids it… even if she does not know what happened or why.

This marvelous film full of metaphors and incredibly beautiful music by Zbigniew Preisner is a very European film that if you do not grasp the simplicity of the story you could end up totally lost. The pace is slow but with so many things happening –not in the obvious way- you feel that you did not pay attention to every detail and probably you are right. This is a movie that can be seen several times and each time you can discover new details, even some that are crucial for the story.

Irène Jacob plays Weronika/Véronique and has an impressive performance with a face and body that conveys a rainbow of emotions in almost of all the scenes she is in. Even if she was not Kieslowski first choice, Andie MacDowell was his first choice and Juliette Binoche his second choice, I cannot imagine this movie without her. She is so magnificent in this role that Kieslowski also had her as the lead of Rouge (Red) in the last of his Trois Couleurs trilogy. Well, I could imagine Juliette Binoche in this role but she was busy filming another movie, so she was in Bleu (Blue) the first film of the trilogy and the next after this one.

Kiesloski is also the co writer with another of his eternal collaborators Krzysztof Piesiewicz of this amazing story. The cinematography is exceptional with some use of sepia and the camera travels subjectively in some scenes. Suffice to say that as a movie is a true masterpiece and a work of art.

Worth mentioning are the puppets scenes that are not only striking but also hypnotizing.

Kieslowski won the FIPRESCI and the Ecumenical Jury prizes at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival and Irène Jacob won the best actress award. The movie was nominated for a 1992 Golden Globe and has many other international awards and nominations.

This is absolutely not for all audiences as if you read the American sites you will find that some critics and viewers had no idea what this movie is all about. You have to enjoy art cinema and particularly you have to enjoy Kieslowski to really appreciate this movie.

I am so delighted I was able to watch this movie.

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