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The Double Life of Veronique(1991)
Story of the separate destinies of two young women, one French, the other Polish, who look alike and share the same character traits.
For more about The Double Life of Veronique and the The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray release, see the The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 7, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Irène Jacob, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik, Aleksander Bardini, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Jerzy Gudejko
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
» See full cast & crew
The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 7, 2011
Winner of the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, Krzysztof Kieslowski's "La double vie de Véronique" a.k.a "The Double Life of Veronique" (1991) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an exclusive audio commentary with renowned film scholar Annette Insdorf; four short films directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; two featurettes; interviews with cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, composer Zbigniew Preisner, and actress Irene Jacob; and alternate U.S. ending. The disc also arrives with a 46-page illustrated booklet. In Polish and French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
I saw Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique at a time when a lot in my life did not make sense. I was living on the other side of the Iron Curtain and had many questions that no one was willing to answer. I was incredibly frustrated and like Weronika, one of the two young women whose stories Kieslowski's film tells, the only thing that kept me sane was music.
My initial reactions to the film were mixed. I did not understand it, which is why I kept reading different articles from foreign critics that apparently explained everything that happens in it in detail. The more I read, however, the more things did not make sense to me. Eventually, I gave up on the film.
Everything came together much later on. I believe it was right around the same time when I saw the last installment in Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs. It was one of those strange moments when you suddenly realize that the answer to a mystery that you have been trying to solve for years had been right in front of you, yet you missed it, time after time. I suddenly saw my answer, the one that I should have had the very same night when I left the old Soviet-style movie theater where The Double Life of Veronique was screened, but did not because I was expecting to see the same film other people had - most of them living in a world that I knew very little about.
The Double Life of Veronique tells the stories of two young women, Weronika and Veronique, both played by French actress Irene Jacob. One lives in Poland, the other in France. Both are passionate about music, love and life. Both have weak hearts. They never meet in the film, though Weronika sees Veronique from afar during a street protest in Poland. At times, they feel each other's presence, but don't know how to react to the feeling.
Weronika is a terrific singer who has never been taught how to sing. She wins an important recital audition and in a short period of time her life completely changes. She begins dreaming beautiful dreams and falls in love. Then on the night of the recital, she collapses on the stage and dies.
Veronique is also a singer, but throughout the film we never see her singing. Her life is a lot more satisfying than that of Weronika. She also dreams and loves - but her world is brighter and warmer than that of Weronika. At the end of the film, Veronique's life also completely changes, but she lives.
Halfway through The Double Life of Veronique, there is an intriguing game of sorts where a skillful puppeteer captures Veronique's imagination, and consequently challenges her to find him. There are a number of clues that she gets in the mail about his location, but as is everything else in the film, they are simply clues to something a lot bigger.
Unlike what many people in the West have come to believe, The Double Life of Veronique is not about a mystery, and it is not about the two women whose lives it follows closely. Rather, it is about the worlds they belong to - one full of hope and life, the other gloomy and cold. Kieslowski lived on both sides of the Iron Curtain and saw what many could not, or did not want to. This is why in his film Weronika dies and Veronique lives.
In 1991, The Double Life of Veronique won the Best Actress award (Irene Jacob), the FIPRESCI Prize, and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1992, the film won the Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film granted by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics.
The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.64:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine in 2K resolution from the original 35mm negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Telecine supervisor: Rahma Goubar.
Telecine colorist: Herve Fougera/Scanlab, Paris."
It appears that Criterion and Artificial Eye have had access to the same master (supplied by French distributors MK2). Unsurprisingly, Criterion's high-definition transfer is just as strong - fine object detail is excellent, clarity pleasing, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. Once again, however, I am most impressed with the color reproduction; the variety of warm greens, yellows, reds, and browns look absolutely fantastic. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern. I also did not see any traces of excessive noise filtering. Generally speaking, the fine film grain has been retained - but often times it is also covered by an extremely light layer of shifting noise (see screencaptures #3 and 17). In motion, however, I can not see any difference between the Criterion and Artificial Eye transfers. Lastly, there are absolutely no stability issues to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Polish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (with portions of French). For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The stereo soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm magnetic tracks. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using Audio Cube's integrated audio workstation."
The Polish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is fantastic. Zbigniew Preisner's dreamy music score now sounds better than ever. The chorus performances, in particular, are outstanding. Indeed, the Polish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track has a very impressive dynamic amplitude that gives the film an entirely new vibe. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow.
The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Double Life of Veronique Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Double Life of Veronique is one of my all-time favorite films, and Criterion have certainly treated it right. While their release offers slightly more in the supplemental features department, I prefer the look of the Artificial Eye release. Both, however, are fantastic releases, so pick the one that you like. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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February may be short, but the Blu-ray slate from The Criterion Collection certainly is not – the independent label has just announced six very notable movies for that month. On February 1, it will release The Double Life of Veronique (La double vie de Véronique; ...
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