Cinema The Double Life of Véronique

Directed by: Krzysztof Kieslowski



16 May at 7.30pm (Mon)


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With: Irène Jacob, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Guillaume de Tonquedec, Halina Gryglaszewska, Aleksander Bardini, Kalina Jedrusik Script: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak Edited by: Jacques Witta Production: Leonardo De La Fuente Puppeteer: Bruce Schwartz Age guidance: +12 / France, Poland, Norway, 1991, 98 min. / With electronic subtitles in Portuguese


MC&HN: Why the choice of profession of puppeteer [in the film]?
Krzysztof Kieslowski: Because of the American puppeteer Bruce Schwartz (...). He shows his hands, he moves with the puppet, and three seconds later you forget his hands because the puppet is really coming alive. It’s unbelievable. (...) I also knew that if I did not get Bruce Schwartz, I would change the character’s profession.
-Interview by Michel Ciment and Hubert Niogret to Krzysztof Kieslowski, From Weronica to Véronique. Positif, 364 (June, 1991).


The Double Life of Véronique (La Double Vie de Véronique) was the movie that, after the revelation of Dekalog, most contributed for Kieslowski's international recognition. As the title indicates, it is built under the sign of the double: two heroines, two nationalities, two ways of life. Two young women, one Polish and the other French, born on the same day, are like the “projection” of each other, and the tragic fate of one will be reflected on her double.


Véronique is a beautiful young French woman who aspires to be a renowned singer. Weronika lives in Poland, has a similar career goal, and looks identical to Véronique, though the two are not related. Both women contend with the ups and downs of their individual lives, with Véronique embarking on an unusual romance with a puppeteer who may be able to help her with her existential issues. Véronique and Weronika are unaware of each other's existence, yet they sense a spectral companion and an inexplicable, profound bond.



The puppeteer and sculptor Bruce Schwartz was responsible for the construction and manipulation of the puppets. He appeared in episodes of Jim Henson's The Muppets, with guests Cleo Laine and Señor Wences. He received three UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence and, in 1985, he was the first puppeteer to receive the MacArthur Foundation fellowship. He was one of the six international puppeteers to be profiled fot thr the series Jim Henson Presents the World of Puppetry (1985), which showcases some of the best puppeteers in the world. After 1986,  Schwartz decided to follow other paths, with the exception of his participation in this film, at the request of director Kieslowski.



The Polish filmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996) was, and still is regarded as, one of the most acclaimed and respected European directors. Known internationally by films such as The Double Life of Véronique, one of his masterpieces, or its Three Colors trilogy: Blue (1993), with Juliette Binoche; White (1994), with Julie Delpy; Red (1994), with Irène Jacob. He won some of the world's most important prizes, Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize or the Golden Lion, and was listed by Sight & Sound magazine one of the top ten film directors of modern times.


The film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, and the Best Actress Award for Jacob. National Society of Film Critics Award USA for Best Foreign Language Film, among others.