Le Sang des bêtes
Georges Franju

This is a horror film, with a social conscience.  A horror documentary.  The handsome Parisian structures we see as background for handsomely dressed people in flashy cars going about their daily business remind us that we go about our affairs through the blood of beasts being slaughtered in support of our lifestyle, beasts we know nothing about and never see.  It is for a time effective as it reveals the unnecessary cruelty in the abattoir and our total insensitivity to our fellow creatures.  But it goes on too long with nothing to offer but more bleeding flesh in a deliberate assault on the audience.  Then just as I thought that Franju had exhausted the horror, he shows us all those frantically kicking legs of the sheep-to-the-slaughter, lying on their backs.  Most unforgettable, though, is the docile white horse of the opening, so eager to please and willing to stand just where his executioners want him to stand.

Hôtel des Invalides
Geroges Franju

This is a more restrained and subtle statement against violence.  (How can one be subtle about an abattoir?)  In a fine moment we see a small girl at play, enjoying hopping on one foot, followed by a veteran on crutches who has lost one of his.  In another interesting scene we watch a priest saying mass for veterans, the old way  —  his back to the people of God.  There is something distant as well in his manner.  Many of the veterans, we quietly discover, are lame.  We are somehow  —  and I remain unsure of the how  —  we feel that the mass endorses war and its resultant horrors.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *


Rick’s Journal  –  MY FILM CAREER

How did Franju make me believe that his film Le Grand Méliès was made much earlier than it was?   In my guessing mind I went for the thirties.  Knowing now when he created it and remembering the look and the feel of it, I was foolishly imagining it being made when it could not have been  —  that it was made when it was taking place..  Rhythm, pace, cutting, ?dissolves (not sure about this last) all draw you into the fantasy world of magicians  —  and magicians of cinema.

Le Grand Méliès
Georges Franju

NEXT Friday POST, February 27éé

Until then,
See you at the movies,



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