La Double Vie de Véronique (12A)



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Time Out says

Mon Mar 13 2006

A decade on from the death of the Polish auteur, and coinciding with the NFT’s tribute season, comes a chance to re-view and reassess his most mysterious work. With its tale of two physically identical 20-year-olds born at the same time in Poland and France – each with musical talent, each raised by her father, each somewhat confused concerning a lover, each troubled by a heart condition – the film was one of his most opaque in terms of its precise meaning. It was also, thanks to Irène Jacob’s radiant dual performance, Zbigniew Preisner’s music and Slawomir Idziak’s burnished expressionist camerawork, one of Kieslowski’s biggest box-office successes.

So how does the film look now? Most striking, perhaps, is that no one seems to have followed fruitfully in Kieslowski’s footsteps. But then, this was probably his most extreme film, with regard to its full-on baroque beauty, its unprecedentedly pared-back elliptical narrative, and its assumption that audiences would be prepared to go along with a tale of everyday life predicated on the existence of irrational/supernatural forces. In that respect, it’s best seen as the link between, on the one hand, ‘No End’ and ‘Dekalog’ and, on the other, his ‘Three Colours’ trilogy – all, in their various ways, more immediately lucid than this brooding, poetic parable. But there are other connections to those works that exemplify the director’s enduring relevance: his interest in people who watch, listen and intervene in the lives of others, which, of course, ties in both with issues of surveillance and the practice and ethics of filmmaking. Rich pickings, then.


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Release details



UK release:

Fri Mar 17, 2006


98 mins

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