Changing Faces

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Jul 3, 2017


With its ability to capture and reshape the surface of reality, cinema is uniquely equipped to probe the complicated relationship between the visible world and the emotional and psychological truths that lie beneath it. In Changing Faces, a new series on the Criterion Channel, guest curator Imogen Sara Smith explores the intersection of identity and physical appearance through a selection of films that center on characters whose faces are transformed by surgery, masks, and scarring. Ranging from Georges Franju’s poetic horror tale Eyes Without a Face to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s science-fiction allegory The Face of Another, this lineup poses questions about the malleability of the self, asking whether radically altering the way one looks can ultimately influence one’s destiny. In the above clip, Smith takes a look at Rock Hudson’s remarkable performance in John Frankenheimer’s Seconds, a potent dose of 1960s paranoia that makes unnerving use of the actor’s Hollywood-constructed persona and interrogates the human urge for personal transformation.