A film by Dora García
2018, 94 minutes
No. 242


Segunda Vez, from director Dora Garcia (The Joycean Society), orbits the figure of Oscar Masotta - a pivotal theorist in the Argentinian avant-garde from the 1950s to the 1970s, whilst not being a biopic about him. Masotta’s ideas on Lacanian psychoanalysis, politics and art (happenings and dematerialized art) changed the artistic landscape of that 1960s Buenos Aires, preceding the Dirty War and with it the end of the avant-garde. The title, Segunda Vez, originates from a homonymous story written by a contemporary of Masotta’s, Julio Cortázar, which recounts the climate of psychosis and uncertainty caused by the trauma of disappearances in Argentina.

Intertwining politics, psychoanalysis, and performance art, Segunda Vez weaves together a sequence of seemingly disparate scenes that are bound by the act of repetition and observation: posters plastered along a wall advertise their own transmission - a phantom message in a bustling city; two audiences converge on a cliff top, divided in their knowledge of the scenario in which they are participating; a person, tied up in white cloth and ropes, is carried and left in a forest; the brief appearance of a helicopter causes some excitement and consternation; a group of poor and aging people is assembled on a podium, paid to endure violent light and sound for an hour, while an audience observes them; a library brings reading groups together who are aware they’re being watched; after a mysterious official summons, strangers chat in a waiting room anticipating what may happen—one young man among them has been called to return for a second time around.

Winner, International Competition Grand Prix, FID Marseille
Official Selection, New York Film Festival
Official Selection, True / False Film Fest
Official Selection, Viennale
Official Selection, London Film Festival

"A clear standout... assured and elusive... García collates an extraordinary range of media, excursive material, and subjects in Masotta’s orbit—Peronism, Lacan, the dematerialization of the art object—but nevertheless retains a rigor and focus that refuses to foreclose its seductively tentacular strands and interconnections." — Artforum

“Once viewed you feel you have absorbed something crucial and almost tactile about the character of Masotta, the artistic and political climate in Argentina in the years before the Dirty War, the occlusion of history through the distance of years and miles and the dreary, quotidian aspects of authoritarian rule, something that couldn’t be conveyed in a whole heap of fact-driven information-dump documentaries.” Frieze

“By the time the many observers within and without the film have persevered to the last scene, shot in mesmerizing long takes and inspired by Julio Cortázar's fictional short story "Segunda Vez," the act of watching has come to mimic a visceral encounter with the audience complicity that abets authoritarian rule.” – Film Comment

"A very-well polished film on background and form, as instructive as it is non-intrusive." — Cineuropa

"Among the documented human-rights abuses during the Dirty War: paramilitary raids on universities; the separation of children from their parents, to be adopted out to military leaders; the targeting and incarceration of leftists, academics, scientists, labour leaders, human-rights advocates, and the media. This is the story of Russia, Turkey, the Philippines, Brazil, and the United States. This is the story of a repetition." — Cinema Scope

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