After causing an accident that left his daughter Christiane severely disfigured, the brilliant surgeon Dr. Génessier works tirelessly to give the girl a new face. He does so however by kidnapping young women and attempting face transplants. He has been woefully unsuccessful to date. The doctor's world begins to collapse around him when his daughter realizes just what he has been doing.Written by
The initial release of the film was met with negative reactions from film critics. One French critic stated the film was "in a minor genre and quite unworthy of his [director Georges Franju] abilities." Franju responded by saying that the film was his attempt to get the minor genre to be taken seriously. See more »
In her first scene, Christiane says that her father has removed all the mirrors from the house. But when the doctor carries an unconscious Edna out of the parlor, their reflections can be seen a mirror beside the fireplace. See more »
This is one of those oddities that makes an interest in cinema worthwhile. Like the equally atmospheric Carnival of Souls, it was made by a director whose primary activity lay in documentaries, and can very much be regarded as a 'one-off'.
Franju's vision is at once beautiful and emetic: on the one hand, we have the stunning face of Edith Scob, the weird sight of her masked figure running into the night, the sequences which are held for longer than seems natural; on the other hand, arguably the most nauseating operation scenes committed to film (and somehow more unpleasant for being in black and white). The atmosphere is one of quiet poetry, but the juxtaposition with horror makes it unusual and effective. A connoisseur's delight. 9 out of 10. See it, if you can stomach it.
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