Saturday, July 25, 2009

Here's Looking At You, Kid

Les Yuex Sans Visage (Eyes Without A Face)(1960)Directed By Georges Franju

There were moments of inspiration here and there in Georges Franju's "Eyes Without A Face", a film written by some of the same guys who scripted Alfred Hitcock's "Vertigo" and "Diabolique".The opening noir road highway set to carnival music, with a corpse in the back seat, being one.The pain's-taking and graphic (even by modern standards) operation scene midway through, were the face is literally taken off, being another.And the montage of the photographs of the tissue rejection being another. The final scene where Christine is surrounded by doves, while (SPOILER), dogs eat her father, the scientist who apparently cruelly experimented on them, is also worthy of note from it's stark juxtaposition of imagery; divinity and innocence next to deviation and punishment. Much of the rest is sadly dull, and never really develops to any of it's potential.It's so reserved and well mannered at points it flattens dramatically.Scenes of the mad scientist tending a sick boy which are meant to add some complexity to Christine's father (cut from the U.S. release), fall on deaf ears.He's never particularly cruel or menacing, so it's not hard to imagine that he could function normally even benevolently.I kept expecting the film to do something radical, but it stays firmly in it's noir slump, occasionally inverting a few cliche's, like the so close, yet so far away, cops on the good dr's trail. Generic plot with an occasional Jean Cocteau-esque flourish or two, but sadly does not live up to it's hype."The Face Of Another" is a similar, but superior tale of disfigurement, masks, and murder, but chalk full of the thematic and visual promise this film hints at in it's finest moments.They re opening musical scores even resemble one another oddly. That being said the director was placed with large restrictions on how could depict murder, animal abuse, surgery, basically everything the film was about so it worth taking with a grain of salt. This quote, I found on wiki and couldnt resist it's very French clever and in poor taste, arrogance, "During the film's showing at the 1960 Edinburgh Film Festival, seven audience members fainted, to which director Franju responded, "Now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts."'This was France's first substaintial horror film, so it has it's place in history, even if it's not as compelling today as it was in yesteryear, this is the face of horror for it's time and place.

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