La Double Vie de Veronique

La double vie de Véronique by Kieslowski

So I’ve been studying Kieslowski. I am not too familiar with his Dekalog series, having only seen two, and the long version of his short Love story, but I’ve watched his colors trilogy a few times, and I consider the first and the last masterworks.

I find it difficult to penetrate his method. My understanding is that his concerns comprise themes of destiny, fate, and chance, all under the model of intuition. To this, he injects all kinds of cinematic magic. This magic is found mostly in the music and the lighting, and in a more subtle way in his selection of shots. View the opening scene for ‘Blue’, with the gas tank leaking as premonition of the car crash. In his Dekalog short about Killing, the hung cat which haunts us, appears later on again. These ‘signs’ mark us, and I cannot explain why. Maybe with the help of the framework they are nested, these images evoke the deep emotions we only get to feel in real life and rarely in movies?

If you are able to view this here film (only decent version available is on a Region 2 DVD from MK2 update: now a Criterion version is out), you will notice the precise execution of his particular vision. One thing he does is evoke a sense to display the intuitive power of a character, and here we have touch (the shoe string), hearing (the tape recording of ambient sound of the train terminal that leads Veronique to her lover), and sight (the inexplicable apparitions of the old woman, that re-occur in Blue and Red).

Also, sex. The women seem to give themselves to it in the same way they give themselves to life, which is the same distance that we assume Irene gives herself to her role. That way, we feel this devotion from the character to us as well.

Kieslowski can be tricky for some viewers. That’s because he has been registered endless of times by other filmmakers who went on to make more commercially successful films. If you see this with those in mind, you may be dissapointed. So I suggest, if you are only beginning your cinematic education to start with this guy here. Then move on to Jeunet, Medem, and Kar-Wai.


Categories: Notes

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