THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE (La Double Vie de Veronique)
DIRECTOR: KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI
POLISH/FRENCH 1991
MUSIC: ZBIGNIEW PREISNER
With: Irene Jacob (in a dual role and winner for Best Actress Award in Cannes 1991),
ONE WORD: Astounding story and work. Truly a magical film.


There aren't many films which have a story that will just blow your mind away.

Do I have to repeat that.?

There aren't many films which have a story that will just blow your mind away.


The problem with psychic stories, is that the people involved are very near the edge of insanity, because no one can explain, or help them figure out what is it that they are , either, seeing, feeling, or living. Somehow, there is a difference, and it is important that on a deep level, the person become satisfied with the answers to those feelings, or their life will degenerate quickly into tragedy and misery, a favorite theme for many religious groups, when they can not define the psychic stuff, and instead use an allegory, or biblical passage, to state "I told you so."

Amidst the sheer beauty, and love, in this film, is the sad affair of a 'double' birth, and double 'life' , until one of those involved dies near the age of eighteen, and leaves the 'other' totally alone, insecure, and unable to figure out what is going on in her life. Unlike Nicholas Roeg's film on premonitions of death (Don't Look Now), this film tries to help the girl along, until she can help herself, and eventually solve the whole thing.

And fortunately, it is solved positively, and in a manner which gives not only hope to the feelings, but also to the visions, dreams, and in various other forms, which are at the hub of the wheel of life, the miracle of existence, if you will. And we have, as humans, a tendency to dismiss these things in favor of social rationale.

This film starts with two incidents of a child being told a story about the stars, by a loving grandmother (or a mother) in Poland. At the same moment another child, exactly the same age, is being told a little story about the life of plants, and the spirit of life (also by an invisible mother). The two girls grow up being fond of music. The polish girl is a superb singer, and ends up doing a recital for an over filled hall, when they get to hear her dreamy and inspiring voice. The girl, while practicing, and in the first time we see her with a church choir, has occasional blackouts, which last momentarily. She always manages to continue, as if an inner voice is carrying her, which is the idea we get.

In her first recital, she dies of a heart attack. Cut to France. The 'parallel' girl, who talks of always having a close invisible friend, is in the midst of a love scene with her boyfriend. As she reaches her climax in a slightly detached mood, the 'other' is dying. ( In French, 'le petit denouement' is the equivalent definition of orgasm, which means 'the little death'). And she feels this. The boyfriend is told to leave and she sits there crying. She can see a few things, she can feel a few things, but can't identify them.

The rest of the film is her attempt at figuring out what is happening. And she gets her first clue, at the school where she teaches music to young children. She takes her time with the children, and helps correct the mistakes. Prior to that class, the whole school gets the chance to see a puppeteer do his thing. He tells the story ( no words ) of a ballerina who dances divinely, and falls, and dies. After she dies on stage, her body rises, and it turns into the body of an angel with a beautiful little pair of wings, that help her fly away.

She tries to find the puppeteer. In the meantime, she is receiving unusual gifts in the mail. Shoelaces from a ballerina's shoe. And later a tape, with a sequence of sound effects that leads her to where he is, awaiting her. Just before this, she visits her father, from whom she is trying to piece things together. He talks of how the mother used to go on walks with her and tell stories. And how he held her hand afterwards. And general little bits which are slowly filling up the gaps which she, and us, have. Eventually, she accepts the puppeteer, after rejecting him (I wanted to see if it could be done, psychologically, I mean' -- an obvious reference to the fact that he had deeper feelings for her than she knew, or she was the vision which defined his story. He writes children's stories, and wants to write a REAL story.) and she now begins to see the other pieces fall into place.

The real kicker is when she walks in to his little wood shop, where he is making two new dolls for his new story. They are in her image, and she asks why two dolls, and he replies, he always has two, because they break easily on the stage. She's is also at a danger point of breaking. He says, he has it figured out, and starts telling the story he has just written down. The were two little girls, born at exactly the same time, in two different places, Krakow and Paris. ....He's telling her real story. The very story she has been living, feeling and trying to put her fingers on!

There is a scene in the early parts of the film from the point of view of the polish girl, who on the way home from the conservatory, after being bumped off, and getting her sheet music spread out on the street, and having picked it up, she notices a girl entering a bus, that looks exactly like her. This girl is taking pictures of the '68 riots in Krakow and the whole area in general. At the end of the film, the puppeteer tells her he wants to know every thing about her. She picks up her small backpack and dumps it onto the bed. Amidst the rubble, is a set of contact sheets (proofs) of photographs taken on a trip. He asks where. She says through the east,.... and Krakow. He shows her a picture of the girl that looks just like her.

The film doesn't say it at that moment, but she goes over to her father's to explain to him what she had started feeling before. To finish the story which she had started telling him, which was that she felt split, and that a part of her had disappeared.

All I can say is WOW ... and think, that I have not seen too many films that are so strong and so with it, about such an important subject matter. With the incredible chorale music of Zbigniew Preisner, all over the film, this sucker shines, on all levels, where most films are afraid to tread. The subject is difficult to tackle, because it can lead to much confusion and to total madness and insanity. Likewise, a false move, would render the story absurd, and totally unlikely. It is a really beautiful story, that really has the credo written all over it, which the Christians believe but don't follow about the father and his will. The father in this picture is so lovely and helpful it is almost a double entendre.

The direction of this film is impeccable, and the musical sequences sound so much like the music of the spheres, and its dreamy qualities.

It isn't a film for everybody, because it will blow away the fearful ones. But if you are a true believer in soul, and spirit, this is a must film to see. There are only but a handful of films that have EVER dealt with those kinds of situations, and done them positively to help alleviate people of a lot of internal anxieties. This is the best of them. Don't miss it, this is not a film. This is pure SPIRIT work at its best.

GOTTA SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT. That's how good it is.

5 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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