The Woman Who Would Not Die: Voice, Mirror, and the Failed Metalanguage in The Double Life of Véronique

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This paper studies Krzysztof Kieślowski’s portrayals of woman in The Double Life of Véronique. It explores the dialectic between Kieślowski’s ambition to capture theessence of womanhood on the one hand, and his female characters’ survival quasignifiers of a constraining (masculine) cinematic metalanguage on the other. The firstpart of the paper explores how, through their disembodied voice, the female charactersescape the specular and sound regimes of the film. The second and the third partsanalyze the characters of Weronika and Véronique to demonstrate their “ex-sistence”(existing outside) or “exile” vis-à-vis the narrative symbolic of the film. Finally, I lookat Kieślowski’s employment of alternative narratives and point out that his need to tellhis story repetitively renders his film self-deconstructive in its attempt to expressfemininity. Briefly, this paper suggests that the male gaze/narrative of The Double Life of Véronique may, following the topographical logic of the Moebius strip, arrive at itsobverse “surface,” showing the underside of a masculine cinematic language and castinginto question an attempted male metalanguage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-62
Number of pages34
JournalConcentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

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