It’s rarest of rare to find a film which touches multiple genres in its individuality without doing any redundant harm to its overall subject or dominant theme. I’m ending up watching a French masterpiece made by Georges Franju, a film that sets a benchmark standard of horror genre without any popular gimmicks. However Franju didn’t anticipate it as horror film but “anguish…in quieter mood than horror; more internal and more penetrating one.” The proficient surgeon experimenting with face transplantation and hunting for a face to replace his young daughter disfigured in a car accident. He has fame, money and respect but also a mad desire challenging nature but than Nature has its own answers.
Franju with great depth and detail portrays the sensitivity and complexity of plot with his aplomb direction. Here grotesque and bizarre are not the words used in its lame popular gimmick term There are number of unforgettable shocking scenes and sequences heightening the tension and drama with almost poetic Black and White visuals. Cinematography here in ‘Nightmare in Poetry’ and it deserves standing ovation for Eugen Schufftan here. I never been so desperate to see a face of an individual in any of films that I managed to watch till day. From the very beginning to it’s shocking and questioning revelation and even after that Christiane’s mask made indeliable impression to any viewers visual sense. That tension on operation operation table runs as high and gripping as watching those truck tyres on rough roads in ‘The Wages of Fear’ or the pin drop silent heist sequence of ‘Rififi’ (both masterpiece of French Cinema). If that haunting huge mansion is for your eyes, that constantly barking dogs in cages keep yours ears occupied for all those nocturnal trap, medical horror that ending all roads to cemetery. There’s both tragedy and poetic justice in that brilliant climax where Doctor is torned into pieces by the wild beasts let loose. Worth to mention Maurice Jarr’s background score, brilliant act by Alida Valli and offcourse Pierre Brasseur as Doctor you’ve never seen.
This is ‘masterpiece’ in its true sense and a cinematic experience to witness without fail.