Thursday, January 26, 2006

Eyes Without A Face

Georges Franju was held in great esteem in French cinema, not only for his movies but also for co-founding the Cinematheque Française in 1937 which is France's most famous and important film archive. He worked as an archivist until 1947 before making his directorial debut Blood of the Beasts in 1949, which can be described as an early example of ultra-realism leading Franju to establish his uniquely poetic and visually striking style which can be found in the 1959 surreal fantasy of Eyes Without A Face.

The film is set in Paris where we are introduced to the brilliant surgeon, Professor Genessier, announcing a breathrough in a technique used to graft skin. However, his social skills have much to be desired following his daughters supposed disappearance but what is unkown to everyone is that Gennessier was responsible for destroying the face of his beloved daughter Christiane in a car wreck and he keeps her confined to the house whilst he finds a cure. Helped by his assistant Louise, they kidnap pretty young girls and attempt to remove their faces and graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter Christiane. However the experiemnts continue to fail and so they must keep trying.

Initially a slow burner, Franju always delights with his direction and once the plot is in place, the film lifts off towards an exciting finalé. It is unlike such in-your-face horror that todays standards offer, instead giving a more psychological interpreatation of the cool calculating evil and moral lacking that Gennessier exudes and his unwaning determination to fix his daughter despite the innocent murder of others.

The movie was years ahead of its time and the plot has certainly been copied in countless films in many variations since but Eyes Without A Face shows a director who has captured the skillfully crafted tension using a unique style based on many years of studying the business and pushing his experience of previous films to the fore.

I would give this film 4 masks out of 5

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3 Comments:

Anonymous lou said...

Thats an increase of 1.5 from your original assessment. Por Quoi?

10:53 pm  
Blogger Jay Tea said...

The more I thought about the film, the more I liked it. Usually the more I think about a film, the less I like it. Damn you French films!

11:13 pm  
Blogger Skry said...

Maybe you should post "Curry Without A Recipe" :P

Yeah the film sounds like it has a very original plot line to it for it's time. I like murder films where the murderer(s) are everyday people and not outlandish psycho's, so this sounds spot on.

Now if I can practise not throwing stuff at the TV when French people are on it I can maybe watch Eyes Without A Face and not destroy my telly before the credits roll!

12:20 am  

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