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The Double Life of Veronique (Criterion Collection) (Bilingual) [Import]

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Irène Jacob, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik, Aleksander Bardini
  • Directors: Krzysztof Kieslowski
  • Writers: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
  • Producers: Bernard-P. Guiremand, Leonardo De La Fuente, Ryszard Chutkowski
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: French, Italian, Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Nov. 21 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000I2J75O
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Product Description


Filled with reflective surfaces and vivid colors, The Double Life of Véronique marks one of Krzysztof Kieslowski's most haunting films. Just as the director divided his time between his adopted France and his native Poland, the story involves two unrelated women who look exactly alike (both played by Red's Irène Jacob, who won the best actress award at Cannes).

The Polish Weronika, a classical singer with a heart condition, collapses during a performance, after which Kieslowski turns his gaze to the French Véronique, a music teacher who shares the same ailment (much like Kieslowski, who died after cardiac surgery in 1996). Véronique's life follows a similar track, while her affection for Alexandre (Philippe Volter), a puppeteer, suggests the working relationship between the actress and the filmmaker. It's Alexandre, after all, who draws Véronique's attention to the existence of her double (through a photograph she took on a trip to Krakow). In that sense, Kieslowski plays with art as much as identity. Instead of explaining the connection between the characters, he lets the mystery serve as its own reward.

In her commentary, Annette Insdorf (Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski) outlines the reasons she finds the film so metaphysically rich, from the insights into Kieslowski's background to Sawomir Idziak's inventive cinematography. Other extras include interviews with Jacob, Idziak, and composer Zbigniew Preisner; a featurette; a profile of the director; the alternate ending (which feels extraneous); three shorts (the best is 1980's "Railway Station," in which Kieslowski presents a throng of commuters from the perspective of a security camera operator); and an additional short ("The Musicians") about a band of factory workers by his instructor Kazimierz Karabasz. Kieslowski admired this heartfelt portrait for the way it expressed "the human need to create." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
Drama, Fantasy, Music, 98 minutes, French and Polish Language
Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Starring Irene Jacob and Philippe Volter

The Double Life of Veronique sparks all kinds of thoughts, makes me cry, and leaves me feeling like I entered another world.

The film is probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. The color palette is rich and places an emphasis on reds, greens and yellows. There are many instances of images viewed through things which distort reality: a clear plastic ball, mirrors, windows, reflections in glass and also a magnifying glass.

Music is a huge part of the experience, whether it's happening in the story or part of the soundtrack.

The first 30 minutes of the story concerns Weronika. She is Polish and a gifted singer. Weronika is so in tune with life that it's painful. When she sings, there is pure joy visible on her face. She ignores outside distractions such as pouring rain because she's so caught up in the moment. She makes love the same way.

***Spoiler Alert***

Unfortunately, Weronika has a heart problem and drops dead while performing at a recital.

The film switches locations and we find ourselves in France with Veronique. She appears identical to Weronika and both women are played by Irene Jacob. Veronique seems to sense Weronika's death, although she can't pinpoint why she is feeling a sense of loss.

This is a film about connections and feelings. Are we alone in the world or are there people somewhere just like us? Do we share any kind of connection? Is any of this controlled by some higher power, or are events simply random? The "coincidences" in this film are too frequent for everything to be random, aren't they?
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Format: VHS Tape
Some movies inexplicably stick to your mind and make you return to them over and over again. Just like "Unbearable lightness of being" this movie posses that quality. Nothing much happens in it. But little that does touches you in a very personal and emotional way. Beautiful, quiet masterpiece of a brilliant director. Definate must see for anyone who likes European cinema.
Red, White and Blue are also wonderful movies by the same director.
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By A Customer on June 30 2000
Format: VHS Tape
There is so much to see, to hear and to understand in this movie. It truely is one of the most gorgeous and intelligent works of the last few decades. However, I am shocked and surprised to see that none of the reviewers understood (or mentionned at least) one of the most defining themes of this film. This is not only the story of two women who share a soul and share a destiny, but in parralel, it is the story of Europe divided. Two Veroniques, one in France, one in Poland. Both separated not only by destiny, but by two political and social systems, by the burden of XXth century European history. Remember this film was made in the late 80's early 90's when the world was changing rapidly in Europe, when the two side where getting to know each other once more. Veronique in Poland, suffering from her poor health, was like Eastern Europe suffering under the oppression and limitations of the communist regimes. Veronique in France discovering she had a part of herself in Poland, was like Western Europe taking consicence of the fact that Europe could not be Europe without its other side behind the Iron curtain. There is so much symbolism in this movie that points towards a larger, more universal and maybe even political message. Another thing that makes this movie so memorable and moving is the absolutely magnificient soundtrack. Rarely has film music acheived such perfection.
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Format: VHS Tape
Surreal and too beautiful.
To say this is 'one of the most beautiful movies and Kieslowski is a genius' is stating the obvious. It is a dream and ... who else to dream about, other than the beautiful Irene Jacob!
Irene herself is a dream in this movie as she portrays two gifted look-alike musicians, sharing the names Veronique (in France) and Weronika (in Poland). They share the same ill-health, destiny and sadness. And they share an unknown effect on each other's life, despite being worlds apart. The inexplicable depression that Veronique feels when Weronika dies while performing on a stage, makes you ponder 'whether in my life I too wasn't depressed for some or other inexplicable reasons?' 'Is there another I somewhere concerned about me?' 'Is that why I was sad during that time?' 'Is someone else sharing my sorrows being somewhere in this world?' 'Will I meet him/her sometime? Somewhere?' Yes, unanswerable questions, inexplicable feelings and surrealistic thoughts. That sums up this movie.
There is an excellent sub-plot too, a puppet and its master. It is very symbolic and highly metaphorical. I still don't think I understood it properly. The music is haunting. Like the violin in "Un Couer en Hiver", Veronique's vocal music stikes chord with you. It is enchanting and sad at the same time. Close your eyes and you are drowned in dreams!
Irene Jacob is dreamy and natural, aimless, sympathetic, gorgeous, child-like innocent and sexy at the same time. She definitely deserves all the awards for her stunning double role.
'La double vie de Veronique' comes out with flying colours when compared with Kieslowski's much acclaimed colour trilogy (White, Blue and Red). Watch this movie seriously, you will enjoy it. Thank you Kieslowski!
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