In Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960)Docteur Génessier is obsessed with doing skin transplants. The first experiment is done on dogs brought to him by ground keepers who find them roaming around. Once he feels he is successful, he begins experimenting on humans, starting with his daughter.
THE PURPOSEFUL ACCIDENT
Dr. Génessier’s daughter, Christiane, was in a car accident which caused a great deal of damage to her face. However, it wasn’t an accident. Her father orchestrated the whole thing as to have a human to experiment on. After several attempts, Dr. Génessier is able to do the face transplant. But after day 20 Christiane’s face, which is that of another’s, begins to fall apart, literally. Now Dr. Génessier must find another victim for his elaborate scheme. With the help of his nurse, he is able to find another unsuspecting participant.
EDITH SCOB AS CHRISTIANE
I really enjoyed this movie from the opening sequence in which we know we are in a moving vehicle but we are viewing everything as the driver to the end result, or end of the movie.
Edith Scob was excellent at Christiane for most of her acting was through her eyes due to her not having a face. I’ve always said the best actors do more with their eyes than with their voice, and Scob does not falter for one moment. Even when she has a voice, but we only see her eyes, her pain and frustration are still felt. She is able to put us in her shoes.
Dialogue is not abundant in this film, but then again, it doesn’t need to be. Key dialogues are to be had, but it’s the silence and unbelievable actions that take place that make the movie for me. For instance, the nurse looking for the perfect victim by parking near a college campus, or Dr. Génessier performing the operation.
I highly recommend this film to any film buff and those looking for something very different.
Eyes Without a Face is currently streaming on The Criterion Channel with a runtime of 90 minutes.