Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes without a Face). 1959. France/Italy. Directed by Georges Franju. In French, English subtitles. 88 min.
Screenplay by Franju, Claude Sautet, Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, based on the novel by Jean Redon. With Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Claude Brasseur. This disturbing masterpiece by one of Cinémathèque française’s founders—featuring graphic depictions of young girls going under the knife as one Docteur Génessier desperately seeks a new face for his disfigured daughter, Christiane—is one of the first French horror films to disconcert French audiences. In Jean Mascii’s release poster, washed in blood red, Christiane lays gracefully with her legs crossed, her exact pose recalling Evelyn McHale, whose tragic portrait was deemed “the most beautiful suicide.” Beauty undeniably prevails over this gruesome setting.