Saturday, 31 October 2009

"Horror in Homeopathic Doses": Franju's Eyes Without a Face

More than any other image, an erased human face remains horribly eloquent. In fact, a face cannot be made to vanish completely: it stays sufficiently human to horrify by its exact lack of humanity. Hence the unnerving effect of Georges Franju's film Eyes Without a Face (1959), in which a young woman, disfigured in a car crash, is subjected to her father's insane and murderous plan to give her a new face. We never see the daughter's ravaged face, but the featureless white mask she wears for most of the film is enough to suggest her uncanny oscillation between human and inhuman.
Brian Dillon, 'The Revelation of Erasure', Tate Etc., Issue 8, Autumn 2006

Being a horror buff of the rather squeamish and easily frightened kind, Film Studies For Free usually likes its scary, gory movies to be Lyrical... Poetic... Beautiful. That way, it finds, it doesn't have to avert its eyes from the screen too much. 

Thus, FSFF is a particular fan of the truly horrific but extraordinarily beautiful film Les Yeux sans visage/Eyes Without a Face. Georges Franju's classic delivers its 'horror in homeopathic doses', as Franju himself so aptly put it. 

So, it's the film FSFF just had to choose for its little homage in scholarly links this Halloween. (P.S. If you are based in the USA or Canada, you can also currently watch it for free online as part of October Halloween Festival of free films at The Auteurs website).

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