A welcome 50th anniversary outing for one of the great European horror films: at once ghastly and lyrical, Georges Franju’s luminescent mad doctor saga has had an immeasurable influence on the last half century of shock cinema. Dr. Génessier (Brasseur) is a brilliant surgeon who lectures on the experimental process of live tissue transplants. With the help of his daughter Louise (Valli) he has been kidnapping young women and removing their faces to graft onto that of his other daughter, Christiane (Scob), who has been horribly disfigured in a car accident. While her father and sister commit atrocities in her name, Christiane glides through their palatial house like a ghost, hidden behind a plastic, expressionless mask. Visually haunting and deeply unsettling, Les Yeux sans Visage is the missing link between Jean Cocteau and John Carpenter, and a vivid reminder that horror and high art are not mutually exclusive.
Derek O’Connor, JDIFF
Pierre Brasseur, Ailda Valli, Edith Scob