Eyes Without A Face  [DVD]
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French horror directed by Georges Franju. After his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) is horribly disfigured in a car accident he caused, plastic surgeon Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is driven mad with guilt. As atonement, the doctor, aided by his loyal assistant Louise (Alida Valli), kidnaps young women, takes them to his secret laboratory and surgically removes their faces with the hope of grafting them on to his daughter's ruined features and restoring her former beauty. But will Christiane allow him to succeed in his dangerous experiments?
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The story originates with Plastic Surgeon, Dr Gennesier (Pierre Brasseur) who's guilt at recklessly crashing his car which left his daughter, Christiane (played by Edith Scob) severely facially disfigured, turns him into a dangerous obsessive, who's sole aim is to restore her beauty at any cost.
Aided by loyal assistant, Louisa (Alida Valli), young women are lured to his home to become unwitting donors to his evil schemes.
The white mask that the delicate and fragile Christiane wears emphasises the emotions in her eyes, which is rather unsettling, she also moves quitely around her tiny world within the house, the gruesome "face removing" scene is followed by the harrowing scenes of the young victim's fate, which I found to be very moving.
The black and white photography in Georges Franju's movie merely adds to the haunting and disturbing atmosphere of the story, which is in turns obscenely cruel and amoral yet coldly beautiful, a bewitching fairytale of the darkest variety, a horror movie of real quality.
The widescreen picture quality is excellent, the movie is French language with optional English subtitles, and is 86 minutes in length approx.
Eyes Without a Face (or Les Yeux sans Visage, if you want to be a bit French) combines elements of the Gothic novel with a surrealist sensibility to create an absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. Long after the cheap-shock tricks of many of today's horror franchises have been forgotten, the hauntingly beautiful scenes of Christiane's eyes gazing through her mask, and the inescapable and bloody surgical scene, will be remembered.
A classic in the genre.
The central themes rely on the battle between wanting to inhabit emotions battling against the impact of an emotional erasure. Transplanted to the characters the theme is played out in the battle between the scientist who wants to "save" his daughter, via his narcissism. To do this he wants to destroy other fathers daughters, an absence of empathy. Instead he views the world as his laboratory. Because within "science" - a discipline that prides itself upon emotional erasure, the ends forever justifies his means. "Father" wants to control nature just as they do in real life, and if they are not fathers they are women immersed within a "masculine protest."
A dominant theme ripples throughout the film. It was the father's will to power which destroyed his daughter as his erratic driving drove her disfigured her beauty. Hints at another dimension to his act as a savior. So he states he wants to rebuild her. Meanwhile he has his loyal servant, a procuress, who entices young women into his dungeon where he incises their faces and transplants them.
A surgical procedure now finally perfected in the 21st, this film explores the ethics, as the scientist is not the hero, but like Frankenstein - the mad man; the serial killer aiming for the greater good based upon himself. Everyone is a pawn in his will to power. As a result the film raises a number of issues around sacrifice for the greater social interest. Realistically, only the dead can offer their skin, and as the film points out, they have to be freshly deceased, otherwise, necrotisis destroys their attributes.Read more ›
The film is centred on Dr Genessier, a crazed surgeon obsessed with trying to find a new face for his disfigured daughter Christiane, following a car crash for which he was responsible. His attempts to do so involve the kidnapping of young women and the subsequent removal of their face. Meanwhile, Christiane is forced to wear a white, featureless mask to cover her horrendous facial injuries, giving her a haunting, ghostly presence. This darkly sinister premise makes for deeply suspenseful viewing, creating enough tension to easily rival many of those famous horror classics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Les yeux sans visage (AKA: Eyes Without a Face) is directed by Georges Franju and collectively written by Franju, Jean Redon, Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac and Claude Sautet. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Spike Owen
That was some seriously crazy cinema, theatrical but so much more at the same time
as at peri peated vie
This film was clearly ahead of its time and was too much for many critics of the day to stomach. This is up there as one of the greatest, most influential and disturbing films ever... Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2012 by Amazon Customer
When people talk about lovers of foreign films being pseuds, I can't help wondering if Eyes Without a Face is exactly the kind of movie they mean. Read morePublished on 30 May 2012 by Burrobaggy
Georges Franju's "Eyes Without A Face" was begging to be another one of those Grindhouse B-movies, and indeed, it was released in the US as if it was one. Read morePublished on 17 Aug. 2011 by Puzzle box
I remember seeing this film first time round (1959) as a 14 year old boy. It was rated in those days as an "X" certificate, which meant you had to be aged over 16 years to get in... Read morePublished on 27 Feb. 2011 by RTFishall