Saturday, September 09, 2006

Which ending for Criterion's Veronique?

As mentioned earlier, Criterion will be releasing The Double Life of Veronique in November. An interesting question arises: Which ending will Criterion use? The original version, the American version, or both?

According to Kieslowski (Kieslowski on Kieslowski, p.188), "As it is there are two versions of Veronique because I made a different one for America. We see a man emerge from a house which we already know and he calls, 'Veronique! It's cold. Come inside.' 'Dad!' Veronique says and runs to him. And cuddles up to him. That's the ending for America."

Annette Insdorf (Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski, p.135) elaborates: "It is noteworthy that Kieslowski added this ending for American audiences after the film's U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival. As Harvey Weinstein ... recalled in Premiere, Kieslowski hoped to clarify the ending ... The last shot of the French version merely shows Veronique placing her hand on the tree before her father's house."

So, the two endings are essentially the same. The American one is just more obvious. Kieslowski says this on the American eding, "It's obvious that that's her family home. You know that the man's her father. But as I've said, it hadn't been clear to the Americans before that he was her father. Maybe it was some other man fiddling around with the timber. How can you know?"

Yeah, how can the Americans know!

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(updated 9/9) According to Alain of Irenka, the Criterion materials will be the same as those of mk2, which means that only the original ending will be included (see discussions at Kino Kieslowski).