7.8/10
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31 user 15 critic

Blood of the Beasts (1949)

Le sang des bêtes (original title)
Bucolic scenes from the outskirts of Paris are contrasted with stark footage from slaughterhouses.

Director:

Georges Franju

Writers:

Georges Franju, Jean Painlevé (commentary)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Georges Hubert Georges Hubert ... Récitant / Narrator (voice)
Nicole Ladmiral Nicole Ladmiral ... Récitante / Narrator (voice)
Alfred Macquart Alfred Macquart ... Self - horse slaughterer
Maurice Griselle Maurice Griselle ... Self - cow slaughterer
André Brunier André Brunier ... Poleaxer
Henri Fournel Henri Fournel ... Butcher
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Storyline

An early example of ultra-realism, this movie contrasts the quiet, bucolic life in the outskirts of Paris with the harsh, gory conditions inside the nearby slaughterhouses. Describes the fate of the animals and that of the workers in graphic detail. Written by <xaviermartin@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This short film is featured on the Criterion Collection DVD for Eyes Without a Face (1960). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lynch (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

La Mer
Music by Charles Trenet
Lyrics by Charles Trenet
Performed by Charles Trenet
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User Reviews

 
One of the most horrifying films of all time - and it's just an ordinary day at a slaughterhouse
16 December 2005 | by debblystSee all my reviews

Luis Buñuel was Georges Franju's favorite filmmaker. Now imagine the shocking eyeball- slicing scene of "Le Chien Andalou" (which, as you may well know, was a dead sheep's eyeball) taken to the goriest consequences: Franju takes his camera to a slaughterhouse in the outskirts of post-war Paris, and the appalling scene from Buñuel & Dali's classic feels like child's game compared to what is shown in this short documentary.

Here, we see -- in all horrifying details, truth and gore -- horses, cows, calves and sheep being matter-of-factly, bureaucratically slaughtered by dexterous butchers with axes, knives, hammers, and they don't even stop their smoking or casual whistling while doing their jobs. Among these indelible, nauseating scenes, we see an employee "caressing" a horse's head seconds before fatally puncturing its skull; the Berkeleyish "chorus line ballet" of decapitated sheep's paws; the still convulsive trunk of one decapitated, blood-drained, paw-less calf; and the gallons of steaming blood serving as an "illustration" of Charles Trenet's famous song "La Mer" ("The Sea"), heartily sung by one of the workers. In "Le Sang des Bêtes" you will see probably the most horrifyingly graphic scenes EVER filmed.

This film brings uncomfortable thoughts: on the one hand, how most of us -- consumers -- implicitly condone with this methodical, "impersonal" slaughtering of domestic, harmless creatures as long as we don't think very much about how meat, leather, soaps, etc "magically" appear at the supermarket or in a store. On the other hand, we wonder how butchers and other slaughterhouse workers manage to sublimate guilt, compassion and repulsion in a totally matter-of-fact, professional manner (they have to earn a living), proving how human beings can adapt to almost ANY circumstance (surely then-recent WW2 Nazi horror in concentration camps is very clear reference in "Le Sang...:").

"Le Sang..." features as an extra on the DVD that brings Franju's horror masterpiece "Les Yeux Sans Visage" (1959) and it's totally apropos: it's a perfectly macabre pas-de- deux. Impossible not to link the cold-hearted slaughter and skinning of the animals in "Le Sang..." with high-brow-gone-berserk surgeon Pierre Brasseur face-skinning his helpless victims with flawless craftsmanship in "Les Yeux". (Once again, the Nazi concentration camp "scientific" experiments are paralleled).

This is compulsory viewing for animal-rights activists and environmentalists. Don't even think of watching "Le Sang des Bêtes" if you're faint-hearted or after a meal; and beware you meat-eaters, this one may turn you in a vegetarian or at least make your next hamburger taste REALLY bad.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

1949 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood of the Beasts See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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