Daily Archives: October 13, 2000

Something’s Missing

Last week I congratulated the Chicago International Film Festival for failing to attract more Hollywood studio interest, thereby making it easier for us to see good movies without being pressured by hefty advertising budgets. But this week I feel obliged to point out that the Chicago festival’s organizers probably wouldn’t have minded more Hollywood hoopla. I’ve noticed over the past several years that they tend to hold most of their high-profile events during the opening weekend, reserving many of the less glitzy items for the second week. Perhaps they believe that if they can persuade the public to come to something in the first few days, the remainder of the festival will take care of itself.

As a sworn opponent of this kind of “opening night” snobbery, I can’t help noting that some of the most significant, if less glamorous, movie events occurring in town this week have nothing to do with the festival. Two of Alain Resnais’ lesser-known experiments with musical form are playing at the Film Center; one of them, the 1984 Love Unto Death, has never been shown in Chicago before. Two even more scarce and seminal French experimental films, both from 1968, are playing at Facets Multimedia Center: Jackie Raynal’s Deux fois and Philippe Garrel’s La revelateur–neither of which is likely to come this way again.… Read more »

Deux fois

This seminal 63-minute experimental film by French director Jackie Raynal kicks off Facets Multimedia Center’s weeklong retrospective on the “Zanzibar collection,” a group of mainly political films financed by heiress Sylvina Boissonnas between 1968 and ’70. Raynal, a film editor working for most of the French New Wave directors, made Deux fois in black-and-white 35-millimeter during a visit to Barcelona and its environs, with herself as the main performer in practically every sequence. Instead of a story it offers a flow of sequential events that formally rhyme with each other, so that the title (“two times”) becomes a succinct reference to her method–though some things in the film appear three, four, or five times, always with distinct variations. Years later, faced by a team of feminist film theorists, Raynal admitted that the film is partially about “the representation of the image of woman as a sign,” but apparently in the more footloose, less gender-conscious 60s she was more interested in exploring the sexy forms of duplicity between various sequences, their secret points of accord and strongest points of tension. It’s a film about coupling (a man appears with Raynal in many of the sequences) but also about flirting with camera and spectator alike.… Read more »