I immensely enjoyed and appreciated ‘The Double Life of Veronique’ on so many levels but my immediate reaction after the film finished was ‘huh?’ and that I wanted to watch it again. I understood (well thought I understood) the main story line and the nuanced dramatic devices such as the clear ball and the symbolic emphasis on sex and death used throughout the film. However, there were still so many questions I had that were unanswered, for instance, what was the deal with Veronique agreeing to lie in court for her friend and was the piece of string related to her death some how?

Reading Kickasola answered many of my queries (turns out the part about Veronique lying for her friend in court was part of a subtext that had to be cut which is why it didn’t really fit in overall). Yet at the same time Kickasola raised more questions and brought out the cynic in me as I found many of his comments suspect and unconvincing. I tend to find myself feeling slightly sceptical when academic writers start using jargon that confounds the message rather than clarifies it. Was he just reading too much into the film or were the complex layers and meanings completely intended and decided upon by the director? For instance the theme of vision and new beginning is inferred purely from Veronique removing Alexandre’s glasses from his hand in the hotel room scene at the end. Also, the comment about the anonymous phone call being interpreted by postmoderns as “a recognizance of the interstitial image and a critique of the medium” (p.252) is not discussed or elucidated at all.

Maybe I am missing the point and I should just appreciate and accept what the author interprets in the film but it keeps making me think of when I had to read ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte for my English literature class at school. There are so many interpretations flying around of the book, one of which is a Freudian psychoanalytic reading which was predictably about sex and repressed desires. It just didn’t seem to make sense that people were reading Freud into Bronte’s book when he wasn’t even born when it was published so the author obviously had no intention of symbolizing the Oedipus complex in Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship.

I guess all this just comes back to the issues we have been raising in class, how much as a critic we are able to bring to the table and interpret a ‘text’ and how much we look to the author and their intention or even if that matters. Either way, I really loved the film and have been thinking about it ever since as it is a poignant and thought-provoking work of art. The director Kieslowski can include me with the fifteen-year-old girl he met in Paris (p.244) in being profoundly affected by the movie.

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