Next Tuesday, the Violet Crown cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will screen Georges Franju’s 1960 Eyes Without a Face as part of its Summer in Paris series. Set in the quiet French countryside, this elegantly constructed landmark of body horror centers on a brilliant but twisted doctor who performs radical plastic surgery on his disfigured daughter in an attempt to restore her once beautiful face. Anchored by Edith Scob’s haunting portrayal of the lead role, which Guillermo del Toro has likened to “an undead Audrey Hepburn,” this masterful blend of hair-raising chills and startling lyricism anticipates aesthetic developments in the horror genre over subsequent decades, including the visionary work of directors such as David Cronenberg and David Lynch. As film historian David Kalat writes in the liner essay for our release, Franju “deftly balances fantasy and realism, clinical detachment and operatic emotion, beauty and pain.”
Those who aren’t in Santa Fe can stream the film now on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. Below, watch an excerpt from an interview featured on our special edition of the film, in which Scob remembers the challenges of acting through a mask that isolated her from other people.