The Double Life of Veronique

I don't want to write for too long tonight, although I think that might be hard to do because I really loved today's movie. I'm not feeling so well - I actually left work early today. I called my doctor to explain my wide range of seemingly unconnected symptoms, and they seemed really concerned about them and wanted me to come in right away. I think there was some worry that I might have had some sort of altitude-related sickness or maybe like, lyme diease or something, who knows. Luckily for me, I have neither - just an extremely bad bacterial infection and a compressed nerve in my leg. I'm glad that I went in, because my doctor said my infection could have gotten a lot worse if it wasn't treated. Although I'm skeptical of these antibiotics which have a huge warning that they can cause sporadic tendon rupture. Eeep! They're making me a little sick to my stomach, and I just want to make sure I get some rest so I can recover from this nastiness.

Blah blah blah. Today I watched The Double Life of Veronique, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski in 1991. I have truly loved all of his films that I've seen for this project, and I was really excited to see another one of his works. I'm so glad I watched it, because I love this so much as well.

The summary on IMDB is pretty meh, but it's a hard plot to explain and this is a good jumping off-point. The movie isn't so much about things and plot as it is, as Ebert says, about a feeling. IMDB says, "Veronika lives in Poland. Veronique lives in Paris. They don't know each other. Veronika gets a place in a music school, works hard, but collapses and dies on her first performance. At this point, Veronique's life seems to take a turn and she decides not to be a singer..." So, whatever. Veronique and Veronika seem to be strangely tied together. Alexandre, the puppeteer that Veronique is in love with, makes two similar looking puppets and tells a story with them. One of them touches a hot stove and burns herself. A few days later, the one knows not to. This is how the two girls in the movie, both played by the same actress, are connected.

A lot happens in the movie, but it's not as important as this mysterious feeling. I love that Kieslowski keeps his movies so slow and beautiful. He just lets the camera study the actors and actresses - not because they're like, super hot or something (although sometimes coincidentally they are) but so that we can linger in their emotions and feelings. It's just mesmerizing. It didn't seem so important if the girls were really linked in some way, or why they were - it was just so fascinating to just see how Veronique was feeling about everything.

And the film looks amazing. Ebert says it is one of the most beautiful films he has ever seen (and so did a fellow blogger on Twitter) and I agree so much with them both. The movie is just breathtakingly wonderful to look at. I love the colors, saturated not for symbolism but because it looks perfect. It look so dreamy and fantastic. It's like how people are obsessed with old film, because the weird color hues and spots seem to create this really unique atmosphere - the colors in the film just make it feel like nothing else I've seen before. It was so interesting to just follow how Veronique was feeling because the creative and beautiful cinematography made it feel like stepping into someone else's mind, for me at least.

In his essay, Ebert writes about how we can spend time trying to unravel the plot of Keislowski's films, but there's no point - it ruins the experience of his films. And his films are all about experience, not the actions, not the highs or lows - just the things in between. I love that all of his works are like that. They're just so unique and wonderful to watch, and I've found all of them to be so engrossing and beautiful. And they're not pretentious or difficult. They're just simple, stunning, and genius. I really couldn't be happier that I was introduced to Keislowski through this project, his films are incredible and I'm so glad I've been able to see them.

Have any thoughts about The Double Life of Veronique? Share them in the comments!

Ebert's Great Movie essay on The Double Life of Veronique
Buy it on Amazon

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