Polish Film Festival: The Double Life of Veronique

film reelThe Polish Film Festival series continues with the film, “The Double Life of Veronique,” at 4 p.m. Friday, June 13, at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The film will be viewed and reviewed with radio announcer Dan Kane.

This 1991 film was directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and starred Irene Jacob. It is an exploration of love, identity and human intuition through the characters of Weronika (a Polish choir soprano) and Veronique (a French music teacher), set in a strong fantasy element of which the supernatural aspect of the story is never fully explained. Although the two women do not know each other, they share a mysterious and emotional bond.

Weronika wins a choir audition. On her way home she drops her sheet music amid a protest rally, and she notices a French tourist taking photos who looks exactly like her.

One day soon after, while singing a solo on stage, Weronika collapses and dies.

That same day in Paris, a young French teacher named Veronique is overcome with a feeling of sadness. The next day she takes her class to a marionette performance and on her way home, she sees the puppeteer at a traffic light.

She learns the puppeteer is a children’s author named Alexandre Fabbri, and a series of strange events lead her to meet him at a café. The two become close, and Veronique confides in him, saying, “All my life I’ve felt I was here and somewhere else at the same time.”

The movie ends with Verqonique asking Alexandre why he creates two marionettes for each character, and he explains that they damage easily, so he makes one identical. Later, Alexandre reads his new book to Veronique. It is about two women, born the same day in different cities, who have a mysterious connection.

The film received mostly positive reviews and was described as having a “hypnotic effect” by Roger Ebert. It won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Jacob won the Best Actress Award.

Oak Park Arms Senior Living is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.