Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors: Les Yeux Sans Visage

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

It being October and all, I'm ready to get into the Halloween spirit by resurrecting a series this blog hasn't visited in a while: Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors. This is an ode to two things worth celebrating: beautifully designed spaces and downright creepy movies. If you can marry the two, then you've pretty much achieved perfection. Today's entry is Georges Franju's 1959 film Les Yeux Sans Visage—or as Billy Idol might have called it, Eyes Without a Face.

With production design by Auguste Capelier, Eyes follows the brilliant but obsessed Dr. Génessier as he tries in vain to transplant a fresh face onto the disfigured mug of daughter Christiane. Given that Génessier is a surgeon and the film was shot in the '50s, Eyes delivers wholeheartedly in the vintage medical equipment arena:

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

But since Génessier is also, you know, kidnapping young ladies across the French countryside in order to restore his daughter's face, he also needs to keep things a bit quiet. Hence the underground lair and odd sub-plot involving keeping an extraordinary industrial-chic kennel:

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Despite his questionable medical practices, Génessier also operates an above-ground clinic that really is top-notch in the interiors arena:

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

If my doctor had giant palms flanking the entrance to his clinic, I really wouldn't care what he did in his spare time.

Finally, Génessier's office is unlike anything you're likely to see in a medical facility these days. First take the killer sconces and then add picture molding?! I don't think my heart can take it.

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

And, in a scene to rival the best that 1stdibs has to offer, we get to see Christiane's boyfriend's circa-1959 pad in all its French mid-century glory.

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

But keeping true to the film's French roots, there are still more daybeds, Louis XVI chairs, lush swags, and imposing marble-topped sideboards than you can shake a distraught French girl's mask at.

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors

Les Yeux Sans Visage runs 90 minutes and is available on DVD and Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection. Watch it with someone who appreciates design and/or medical procedures.

Eyes Without a Face - Les Yeux Sans Visage Interiors