Two Enigmatic Women Lead Parallel Lives in the Arthouse Favorite ‘The Double Life of Véronique’


  • Janus Films
Krzysztof Kieślowski had been making acclaimed films in Poland before this international co-production officially made him an arthouse star. Shot in Poland and France, it spins the mystical, off-handed story of two unrelated women, both played by Irène Jacob, who lead parallel lives. For example, they both make a living through music, and they even see each other in a crowd when the French version visits Poland as a tourist. They conveniently symbolize the interdependent fates of Eastern and Western Europe, but be forewarned that the film offers no pat explanation — because its mysteries are precisely the point. Kieślowski believed that our lives are connected by chance in ways unfathomable to us, a theme he’d explored in his 10-part TV serial Dekalog and developed further in his Three Colors trilogy. Above all, this is a psychological and symphonic exercise in cinema, as Kieślowski drenches the film in lush music and dreamy color-filtered photography, all the better to launch Jacob’s luminous double presence.