[Movie] Seconds (1966)

  • Directed by: John Frankenheimer
  • Cast: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph
  • Based on: Seconds, a novel by David Ely

What if you can have a second life with a new body – even younger – and a new identity? Reborn or complete facelift is a recurring theme of movies and books, in which we can see one of our deepest fears and desires – death and mortality. 

Frankenheimer’s “Seconds” depicts how our desire for a new life might end up eventually. There used many techniques to deliver the message in diverse direction. The deliberate use of complex camera works such as ultra closed-up shots in a black-and-white screen seems quite stylish. Hectic Bacchanalia scene is another mechanism to reflect how the movie shows the life and the psychology of the 1960s.

Despite stylish looks, the movie failed what it intended to do – to show what a reborn life looks like. There is no synthesis of all materials in the movie – camera works, psychological development, the motives, and the development of plots. 

Zikek quoted the movie as an example of how desires can not be fulfiled. Desire is not a goal but a perpetual process of recreating other desires. 

“Seconds” had potential – good actors and interesting themes – but failed to make things together. 

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