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The Double Life of Veronique

i will openly admit that i really didn't know what to think when the closing credits started to roll on krysztof kieslowski's the double life of veronique. this is a gorgeously-shot, completely immersive film that unapologetically leaves the viewer with many unanswered questions.

the storyline follows two women, played by the same actress, who share a mysterious mental and emotional connection, despite having never met. the most apparent aspect of their subconscious connection is that veronique, the young french woman, seems to make decisions based on the parallel experiences of her polish counterpart, weronika, without consciously knowing why. the first act of the film follows weronika almost exclusively as she begins her singing career. After a dramatic and significant event in weronika's life, the film turns to veronique for the final two acts, focusing primarily on her uniquely developing romantic relationship with a children's author.

the double life of veronique is so rich and densely-woven that i found myself getting lost in all of the sensory and thematic layers. the cinematography is striking, with many memorable shots exhibiting a surreal and beautifully disorienting quality. the camera exposes a number of fascinating visual motifs as the film progresses - windows, reflections, and certain color associations, just to name a few. music plays a signficant role as well in the surreal connection between weronika and veronique. many musical cues throughout the film provide potential clues in unlocking the mystery of this film's meaning.

and it is, most definitely, a mystery - at least it is to me after seeing the film only once. kieslowski is known for creating films that ask questions, rather than make statements and the double life of veronique is no exception. (in fact, it is perhaps the strongest example). he gives the viewer so much to process in this film and yet maintains almost complete ambiguity, leaving it open to any number of interpretations. as i continue to ponder and even revisit the film, i'm sure that my own interpretations will begin to take shape. in the meantime, i am haunted by its questions and anxious to sink back into the double life of veronique.

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