The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique
Directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski
Produced by Leonardo De La Fuente
Written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Krzysztof Kieślowski
Starring Irène Jacob
Music by Zbigniew Preisner
Cinematography Sławomir Idziak
Editing by Jacques Witta
Distributed by Miramax (USA)
Release date(s) May 15, 1991
Running time 98 minutes
Country Poland
Language French / Polish
Box office $1,999,955 (USA)

The Double Life of Véronique (French: La double vie de Véronique, Polish: Podwójne życie Weroniki) is a 1991 French- and Polish-language film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, co-written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, starring Irène Jacob, with original music by Zbigniew Preisner. The film was Kieślowski's first to be produced partly outside Poland.[1]

A Criterion Collection region 1 DVD was released in November 2006 in the USA and Canada only. It includes an alternate ending which Kieślowski did at the request of Harvey Weinstein of Miramax for the American release.



The film follows the lives of a young woman first in Poland, Weronika, and then a young woman in France, Véronique, both played by Irène Jacob. Though unrelated, the two appear identical, share many personality traits, and seem to be aware of each other on some level, as if they are doppelgängers; but except for a brief glimpse through a bus window in Kraków, they never meet. After Weronika sacrifices everything in the pursuit of a singing career, Véronique abandons her own similar goal because of poor health and attempts to find an independent course for her life, while becoming involved with a man who is fascinated by clues to her double nature. The man is a puppeteer and maker of marionettes, helping raise the questions that are central to the film: is there such a thing as free will, or is it up to a creator of some kind, or is it just a matter of chance that one acts and thinks as one does?[2][3][4]

Filming style

The film has a strong fantasy element, though the supernatural aspect of the story is never explained. Like the later Three Colors: Blue, it showcased Preisner's musical score as a major plot element, crediting his work to the fictional Van den Budenmayer. The cinematography is highly stylized, using color and camera filters to create an ethereal atmosphere; the cinematographer, Sławomir Idziak, had previously experimented with these techniques in one episode of The Decalogue, and Kieślowski would later use color for a wider range of effects in his Three Colors trilogy. Kieślowski had earlier used the idea of exploring different paths in life for the same person, in his Polish film Przypadek (Blind Chance), and the central choice faced by Weronika/Véronique is based on a brief subplot in the ninth episode of The Decalogue.

Critical reception

Film critic Marek Haltof sees the film as a political allegory in which Weronika represents Poland and Véronique France, or the West: both are highly cultured, but while Véronique is seemingly free to choose her destiny, Weronika's early death represents the sacrifice of Poland during the Second World War and its subsequent incorporation into the Soviet bloc; Véronique senses this loss without realizing what it is, and that she is incomplete without Weronika.[citation needed]

Film critic Roger Ebert entered the film to his Great Movies collection in February, 2009.[5] The film got 4-stars (out of 5) rating plus "High Artistic Quality" on[6] At the Internet movie database, the film holds user rating of 7.8 (out of 10), based on 9558 votes.[7] Site, which specializes on DVD reviews, gave the film 5 of 5 stars in their critical review.[8] The film got favourable rating (3 of 5 stars) on [9] and holds 84 % rating on [10]

Box Office Performance

The film was the 50th highest grossing film of the year with a total of 592,241 admissions in France. [11] In North America the film opened on 1 screen grossing $8,572 it's opening weekend. In total the film grossed $1,999,955 at the North American Box Office playing at a total of 22 theaters in it's widest release which is a respectable result for a foreign art film. [12]

Awards and nominations

The Double Life of Véronique won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for Krzysztof Kieslowski, at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Irène Jacob won the Best Actress.[13]

  • Cannes Film Festival (France)
  • Independent Spirit Awards (USA)
    • Nominated: Best Foreign Film




External links

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