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The Double Life of Veronique (The Criterion Collection) (1991)

Irène Jacob , Halina Gryglaszewska , Krzysztof Kieslowski  |  R |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Irène Jacob, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik, Aleksander Bardini, Wladyslaw Kowalski
  • Directors: Krzysztof Kieslowski
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2J75O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Double Life of Veronique (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Commentary by film scholar Annette Insdorf
  • Three short documentary films by Kieslowski: "Factory" (1970), "Hospital" (1976), and "Railway Station" (1980)
  • Bonus short film "The Musicians" (1958) by Kieslowski's teacher, Kazimierz Karabasz
  • The alternate U.S. ending
  • 1991 documentary "Kieslowski - Dialogue" featuring a candid interview with Kieslowski and rare behind-the-scenes footage from the set of The Double Life of Véronique
  • 2005 documentary "1966 - 1988:  Kieslowski, Polish Filmmaker"
  • New video interviews with actress Irène Jacob, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, and composer Zbigniew Preisner
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Booklet with essays by Jonathan Romney, Slavoj Zizek, and Peter Cowie, and an excerpt from "Kieslowski on Kieslowski"

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Product Description

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irène Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, purely emotional bond, which Kieslowski details in gorgeous reflections, colors, and movements. Aided by Slawomir Idziak’s shimmering cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting, operatic score, Kieslowski creates one of cinema’s most purely metaphysical works: The Double Life of Véronique is an unforgettable symphony of feeling.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Double Life," twice the beauty February 28, 2004
Verified Purchase
One of Krzysztof Kieslowski's finest films is "The Double Life of Veronique" ("La Double vie de Véronique"). It's not just a philosophical, arty film, but a subtle and unique tale full of Kieslowski's directorial magic, and gives Irène Jacob a chance to shine in her most challenging role.
There are two women, the Polish Weronika and the French Veronique (both played by Irène Jacob). They have never met, never spoken, and do not know that the other exists. They share the same losses and the same health. Weronika is a singer, and Veronique is taking singing lessons. But their lives and souls are bound together, and their personalities are yin-yang opposites, one practical and one a stargazer.
What is more, each has the strange feeling that she is, somehow, not alone in the world. One night, Weronika dies onstage while singing. Suddenly in France, Veronique is stricken with a strange feeling, and stops taking her lessons. Weronika has died, but she still lives. Soon she begins to explore, searching for the truth about her double life, and a strange puppeteer who somehow is a link between both girls.
"Double Life of Veronique" is one of those rare films that just begs to be analyzed. Is it about being puppets in some enormous scheme of things? About fate? Sacrifice? Love? One woman's soul in two bodies? Political symbolism? Or is it simply about some mysterious dimension of the spiritual? The symbols and metaphors can be unwound any which way, and in the end they all work. Even the ending is ambiguous -- is it happy, or sad?
Krzysztof Kieslowski's direction is impeccable. His use of light and shadow, and the atmospheric music, make "Double Life" practically a work of art.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and haunting movie! July 13, 2000
By Ed N
Format:VHS Tape
The Double Life of Veronique is an absolutely stunning film. The director, whose work includes Decalogue and the superb Three Colors Trilogy (Blue, White, and Red), displays a confident tone in his deliberate pacing and the subtle way in which he establishes the mood of this picture. In Irene Jacob (also the star of Red), he finds the perfect leading lady, who has an innocent yet mysterious and beautiful aura which works so well with the tone of this film.
There isn't really a plotline in this movie, but in general, it concerns the lives of two women (Veronique and Veronikka, both played by Irene Jacob) born on the same day but in different countries. Though they lead separate lives, there are parallels drawn in their existence, and their paths cross ever so briefly as the story of one woman dissolves into the story of the second. There is a distinct dreamlike quality to this film, and certainly, mood rather than narrative is the dominant driving force to the film.
Most Americans will consider this film to be a typical European "art house" film. If that is not your cup of tea, then you probably will not like this film, for it is decidedly a non-Hollywood production. Don't even bother trying to compare this film with the recent and remarkably inferior Demi Moore Hollywood film about two similar women living on separate continents; the films are nothing alike. "La double vie de veronique" is an excellent film for those who admire director Kieslowski's films or who have the patience to try something different and enlightening.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL AND HAUNTING June 10, 2001
By EriKa
Format:VHS Tape
Irene Jacob stars in the dual role of Veronika, a Polish singer with a heart condition, and Veronique, a French puppeteer, who has some inexplicable connection this Polish version of herself. It is an interesting exploration of Veronique's life after Veronika dies, and of how Veronique feels a profound sense of loss at the death of her twin. This film was directed by Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski just before he made his Bleu, Blanc, Rouge trilogy. While this film is a bit oblique and hard to follow at times, it is worthwhile for its dark and fascinating subject matter and the sensual treatment of the scenery and characters. Also notable is the gorgeous soundtrack by frequent Kieslowski collaborator Zbigniew Preisner.
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64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but somewhat unaffecting July 24, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Much of this is an adoration of French actress Irène Jacob byDirector Krzysztof Kieslowski; in a sense it is a homage to her, oneof the most beautiful actresses of our time and one of the most talented. If you've never seen her, this is an excellent place to begin. She has an earnest, open quality about her that is innocent and sophisticated at the same time so that everything a man might want in a young woman is realized in her. Part of her power comes from Kieslowski himself who has taught her how she should act to captivate. He has made her like a little girl fully grown, yet uncorrupted, natural, generous, kind, without pretension, unaffected. She is a dream, and she plays the dream so well.

The movie itself is very pretty, but somewhat unaffecting with only the slightest touch of blue (when the puppeteer appears by the curtain, the curtain is blue, and we know he is the one, since she is always red). The music by Zbignew Preisner is beautiful and lifts our spirits, highlighted by the soprano voice of Elzbieta Towarnicka. But the main point is Irène Jacob, whom the camera seldom leaves. We see her from every angle, in various stages of dress and undress, and she is beautiful from head to toe. And we see her as she is filled with the joy of herself and her talent, with the wonder of discovery and the wonder of life, with desire, and with love.

Obviously this is not a movie for the action/adventure crowd. Everything is subtle and refined with only a gross touch or two (and no gore, thank you) to remind us of the world out there. Véronique accepts the little crudities of life with a generous spirit, the flasher, the two a.m. call, her prospective lover blowing his nose in front of her... She loves her father and old people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it. An original, beautiful, poignant, and smart film.
The 2nd additional interviews are interesting as well.
Published 20 days ago by email fatali
5.0 out of 5 stars KIESLOWSKI'S DREAM
SOMETIMES FILM IS A JOURNEY INTO THE SUBCONSCIOUS ( AS IN BERGMAN ) AND SOMETIMES A JOURNEY IN THE IMAGINATION ( AS IN ANTONIONI ). Read more
Published 1 month ago by BHS
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly moving
A landmark cinema experience. Wonderfully acted. Beautifully directed. Take home this film from the Criterion Collection if you get the chance.
Published 4 months ago by M. Damron
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
This movie haunted me from the first time I saw it. It is a wonderful film with great acting from Irene Jacob.
Published 8 months ago by E M Vicente
5.0 out of 5 stars The work of genuine artist ...
Kieslowski was one of the most thoughtful and poetic filmmakers ever, a rare blend of sensualist and realist. This may have been his finest film.
Published 11 months ago by Brian Lambert
5.0 out of 5 stars A GEM OF CINEMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There are not enough words to express how beautiful this film really is!! it is like a visually gorgeous poem. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Juan C Aleman
2.0 out of 5 stars BAD TRANSFER
I had the original DVD and the cinematography was spectacular--this Blu-ray transfer is bleached out and flat. The original was luminous, this is dull and without depth. Read more
Published 17 months ago by jdvnew
5.0 out of 5 stars Music of a Sphere
Jacob embodies two referents (Eastern Europe as Weronika then Western Europe as Veronique), glimpsing the future before Kieslowski stages her sacrifice as a rite of passage toward... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ryan James Tutak
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound doesn't even come close to describing this film...
I've been a fan of Krzysztof Kieslowski for a while now without having really seen many of his films. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Andrew Ellington
2.0 out of 5 stars This movie has got something - yet not much.
The images in this movie are beautiful and the music is quite beautiful too. And the lead-actress really does play well. Yet, this does not make it a good movie. Read more
Published on June 16, 2012 by Ram Lee
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Double Life of Veronique
Rae,

Do yourself a favor and get an all region DVD player. These are readily available from many mail order and i-net vendors for reasonable cost ($100 - $200), and they will play just about any DVD, from any region in the world. Then order the wonderful new French (Region 2) MK2 release of... Read More
Apr 4, 2006 by J. G. Humphrey |  See all 3 posts
Coming from Criterion in November Be the first to reply
Double Life is Australian R4 import Be the first to reply
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