Gift guide


Eyes Without a Face

Criterion, $29.95

Georges Franju's 1959 grotesque about the perils of plastic surgery in obsessive father-daughter relationships has lost none of its rank charm in the intervening years. If anything, the film, which follows one Dr. Génessier's (Pierre Brasseur) increasingly desperate attempts to provide his mangled daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) with a new face after she loses the original in a car crash, is even more disturbing thanks in part to the commonality of modern vanity procedures and "image consultants." Franju's theme of the twin masquerades of life and death is as bold as the dense atmospherics here, and there's still no more tragic image in French horror cinema than that of Christiane's hapless eyes peering out from beneath her blank white mask. The Criterion Collection disc includes never-before-seen (by us, anyway) archival interviews with the director and screenwriters Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (Vertigo, Diabolique), as well as Franju's first film, the documentary Blood of the Beasts, a vegan-unfriendly look at the local abattoir circa 1949.

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