A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Here is a film about a feeling. Like all feelings, it is one that can hardly be described in words, although it can be evoked in art. It is the feeling that we are not alone, because there is more than one of us. We are connected at a level far, far beneath thought. We have no understanding of this. It is simply a feeling that we have.
There are theories about events affecting other events at a distance. Chimpanzees on one island are taught a skill, and those on another develop it. Twins say they intuit each other's feelings. The first four-minute mile is run, and then it becomes common. Two vibrating strings on a quantum level seem to be in synchronicity -- or are they in two places at once? Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique" (1991) does us the favor of not supplying any explanation for itself, and is not even very clear about what actually happens. It evokes.
It does this above all with the face of Irene Jacob, who plays a Polish woman named Veronica, and a French woman named Veronique. Bergman said the human face is the great subject of the cinema. Kieslowski's camera spends a great deal of time regarding Jacob's face. Let's not waste any time observing how beautiful she is. What he is searching for is her soul. Sometimes he asks her to smile, or look pensive or thoughtful, but sometimes he simply shows her thinking. She shows herself vulnerable, romantic, joyous, tender. She has a good face. We become invested in her introspection.
The film opens in Poland with a luminous and happy young woman who goes to Krakow to visit her aunt. While there, her pure, flawless voice wins the attention of a choir director, whose husband is a famous conductor, and Veronica is chosen to sing at a concert. Before that takes place, she is in a square and sees -- herself -- boarding a bus. She stands transfixed. The other woman, taking snapshots, doesn't see her. The Polish Veronica seems to exist on a plane above the mundane; a flasher exposes himself to her, and she hardly seems to notice, or care.