Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Jackie Raynal is most commonly remembered, in retrospect, as the programmer of two arthouse cinemas in Manhattan, but in the early '60s she worked her way up, rapidly, to become the youngest editor in the French film industry. Accepting a challenge issued by the patroness of Zanzibar, Raynal completed one of the seminal works of avant-garde cinema in 1966: the formalist experiment Deux Fois (or Twice Upon a Time). Though nearly incoherent and difficult to summarize, the work constitutes a deconstructionist fable that opens with a "Pre-Raphaelite self-portrait" of Raynal (where she sits calmly before her dinner, head bowed, hands folded) and continues with a series of disconnected, occasionally repeated episodes. The work wraps with a spoken passage from Pedro Calderón de la Barca's 16th century philosophical treatise La vida es sueno.