The Double Life of Véronique

Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Peter Bradshaw
Friday March 17, 2006
The Guardian

The sheer, heart-stopping beauty of Irène Jacob is what shines out, firstly, from this welcome revival of Krzysztof Kieslowski's great movie from 1991. Maybe because she has not had the international career of her Kieslowski contemporary Juliette Binoche, her face is not as familiar - so the reappearance of this fine performance has an added force and freshness. I can only say that the opening image of Jacob, as the young Polish singer Weronika, transfigured by music and literally singing in the rain, is quite captivating.

The Double Life is the enigmatic story of doppelgängers: Weronika and Véronique are two young women in Poland and France, both singers, the same age and physically the same in every respect, unaware of each other's existence, yet unconsciously sensing a spectral companion. And both of course are played by Jacob, though Weronika's Polish dialogue is dubbed. Weronika, who has a weak heart, dies onstage in mid-song and hundreds of miles away Véronique, without knowing why, senses that she too has a cardiological flaw and that there is danger in pursuing a demanding singing career. She abandons it - to the horror of her teacher - and her artistic and spiritual life is displaced into a difficult love affair.
The trope of double-identity becomes a brilliant meditation on choices and alternative lives, on the presence of death which forces these choices on us, and on the terrible demands which art can make - if we choose to let it. Véronique's identity, her very existence, become vivid and deeply felt because the fable or mirage of its duality has allowed it to be questioned and examined. A single life should be sufficiently phenomenal; perhaps we would all fully appreciate the central astonishing fact of our own existence only if a cosmic twin were to be revealed before us, as if projected from the surface of a divine mirror. But Kieslowski suggests that the appearance of an uncanny double would be the occasion not of shock or horror, but ineffable sadness, a proof that we are not unique and not immortal.
There is daring as well as simplicity in Kieslowski's conceit, and it will continue to baffle as many as it intrigues; every time I see it, I confess to wondering if Kieslowski quite worked out or worked through all the implications of his story. Part of what wrong foots the audience is the asymmetry resulting from Weronika's departure from the story relatively early on, and another part might be a sense that having renounced her vocation, Véronique's life does not have the romanticism of Weronika's death.
But the elusiveness of the film is precisely the point: it is as beautiful and mysterious as a poem and its formal elegance and conviction are unarguable. What makes it a must-see, however, is the generous, unselfconscious passion of Jacob's performance as a young woman - two young women - in love.

abandon- opuszczać
baffle- zdumiewać, zbijać z tropu, wprawiać w zakłopotanie
captivating- ujmujący, urzekający
conceit- koncept, zamysł, pomysł
contemporary- współczesny
conviction- mniemanie, przekonanie, przeświadczenie
daring- odwaga, śmiałość
doppelgänger- duch- sobowtór
elusiveness- ulotność, nieuchwytność
heart-stopping- ekscytujący; zapierający dech w piersiach
immortal- nieśmiertelny
in every respect- pod każdym względem
ineffable- niewysłowiony
literally- dosłownie
must-see- film, który trzeba zobaczyć
phenomenal- wyjątkowy, fenomenalny, niezwykły
pursue- kontynuować, rozwijać, zajmować się
renounce- wyrzekać się
reveal- odkrywać, odsłaniać
sheer- zupełny, kompletny
transfigure- przemieniać, przeobrażać
trope- metafora
uncanny- osobliwy
vivid- żywy
vocation- powołanie


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