Golden Oldies: Eyes Without a Face

If you want a film with a confusing beginning, a very linear plot-line and an annoying, repetitive music score, then Eyes Without a Face is certainly a film you’ll like.

The central concept of the film can be traced back as one of the very first ‘body-horrors’, as a young girl is literally left ‘faceless’ after an accident and her father, a surgeon, does everything he can to make her a new one.

This is a film that outlines true, sinister horror in very 1960s style, almost akin to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; the women were beautiful and the cars were even more stunning. Although we don’t get to see Edith Scob’s face often, she embodies her porcelain doll-esque costume with elegance, so at least the film has a nice aesthetic quality.

The special effects, although jaw-dropping at the time (1960) do not hold well in 2016 – the viewer is constantly left eagerly anticipating what the girl looks like under the mask.

The girl is left miserable for the fact she can’t see her fiancé again and she is alone. Her only company seems to be her father’s large collection of vicious dogs kept in the kennels below the house, even though the audience doesn’t actually know yet why these dogs are being kept here. This film is a prime example of a director portraying his knowledge and views of a story in the assumption that the viewer will immediately know what is going on.

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However, despite the confusion, slow-paced acting and unnecessary scenes, this French film, Eyes Without a Face is a charming piece of art by Georges Franju that will be truly excellent, and horrific, if remade. Even though it is originally French, it would still make sense to be remade in relation to matters particularly prevalent in the United States.

The film touches on realistic issues of murder, theft, bribery and kidnapping all in one search for one of the things that makes us human: our vanity. Although science has caught up to the film’s borderline-dystopic view of skin grafting and other assorted body-horror, it would nonetheless be interesting to see a modern update.

Next week: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu

Kitty Marie

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