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 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 »
Along with THE SHINING, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and PSYCHO, the best horror film ever made. Franju forsakes the usual signifiers of the genre - hurtling pace, quick editing, signalling music, hysterically scary scenes - in favour of a pace as funereal and petrified as its heroine's face. A soul-chilling film, seeped of all emotion, its scientific subject matter belies a timeless, complicated, non-judgemental Gothic fable about the destruction of innocence, the carelessness of masculine authority and the exploitation of women (especially in art). The many paralells with VERTIGO (the source novel was written by the same writers), the startling tree and animal imagery, the suspended dream logic and the perverse comic sense ensure this film as a classic, and makes one yearn for more Franju.
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