There is a moment in "The Double Life of Veronique" (1991), where if the heroine had only glanced out a bus window a second sooner, she might have glimpsed herself in the city square. We see him like so many of Kieslowski's characters, swimming upward through a suffocating life toward the possibility that hope still floats somewhere above. I connect strongly with Kieslowski because I sometimes seek a whiff of transcendence by revisiting places from earlier years. There is also, lurking unsaid, the possibility that this Prospero, so intent on studying the lives of his neighbors without involving himself, might be the catalyst for one final act of magic involving Valentine and that young man who lives across from her.
They missed being the same age by only 40 years or so.
Now that Hubble has seen back to the dawn of time, that doesn't seem a great many years.
There is a sequence in "White" (1994) where his hero, a Polish hairdresser, is so desperately homesick in Paris that he arranges to be sent back to Warsaw, curled up inside a suitcase.
His friend at the other end watches the airport conveyor belt with horror: The bag is not there, it has been stolen by thieves who break the lock, find only the little man, beat him savagely and throw him on a rubbish heap.
Most films make the unspoken assumption that their characters are defined by and limited to their plots. Kieslowski celebrates intersecting timelines and lifelines, choices made and unmade. Kieslowski would never have dreamed of saying and probably didn't know."Kieslowski truly loved his characters and invites us into a poignant awareness of both our limitations and our capacity for transcendence," Insdorf says, and you can feel that in the tenderness of every frame. The Ebert Club is our hand-picked selection of content for Ebert fans.