A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
Xavier is a faun-like wanderer/seeker who is traveling across the land to find out the truth about his mysterious origin. Facing rednecks, inflicting righteousness and preaching about the 'strong, silent types' and morality, this hero has his work cut out for him.
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
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #260. See more »
License plate changes numbers between shots as the doctor is backing up and pulling into his garage for the first time. As he walks through the garage, into the house, you can see the original plate '7769' on his assistant's car. See more »
The films initial 1962 release to the US was edited and the film was re-titled. The surgery scene was cut down for content, while scenes that made Dr. Genessier seem sympathetic (particularly the scene where he cares for an ailing boy) were also edited. 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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