Wednesday, October 16, 2019 (7:30pm)
5213 Grays Ave. Rm. 228
After editing several of Eric Rohmer’s early Moral Tales and briefly fleeing France due to her participation in the protests of May 1968, Jackie Raynal completed Deux Fois in Barcelona in just over a week. Her resulting debut feature is an enigmatic notebook of experimental sketches brimming with repeated images and scenes befitting its English translation “Twice Upon A Time.” As the film begins, Raynal announces ”tonight will be the end of all meaning, ladies and gentlemen” and, appropriately, it abounds with the joy of disrupting cinema’s expected language.
Raynal appears in almost every scene, mixing rhyming sequences alternating between multiple languages with luxurious long takes without dialogue. And while following in the surrealist tradition of Buñuel and Cocteau, Raynal adds the feminist critique of what she terms “the reperesentation of the image of the woman as a sign” absent from much of that earlier work.
Raynal realized Deux Fois as a member of the Zanzibar Group, a radical collective of young French filmmakers springing up after May ‘68 that also included Philippe Garrel. Funded by oil heiress Sylvina Boissonnas, the members were self-described dandies, more Warhol’s Factory than Nouvelle Vague. And the filmmakers themselves had a direct connection to their contemporaries in the American experimental movement. Raynal, herself, relocated to New York in 1973 and became a programmer at the Bleecker Street Cinema, a hub of experimental and art film exhibition.
Print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.