Georges Franju was a French filmmaker known for his unique style and his ability to blend horror, fantasy, and realism in his films. 

Overall, Franju’s films are marked by their inventive storytelling, striking visuals, and their ability to explore complex themes with depth and sensitivity.

Best Georges Franju Films

Here are some of Georges Franju’s best films.

1. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage) is a French horror film directed by Georges Franju and released in 1960.

The film tells the story of a brilliant plastic surgeon who becomes obsessed with restoring the face of his daughter, who was disfigured in a car accident he caused.

The surgeon begins to kidnap young women in order to transplant their faces onto his daughter’s damaged visage, with tragic consequences.

Eyes Without a Face is known for its poetic and surreal imagery, as well as its exploration of themes such as beauty, identity, and the ethical implications of scientific experimentation.

The film’s dreamlike atmosphere, haunting soundtrack, and striking visual style have made it a classic of the horror genre, and it continues to be studied and celebrated by film scholars and horror enthusiasts alike.

One of the most notable aspects of Eyes Without a Face is its use of understated horror, relying on suggestion and implication rather than graphic violence or gore to create a sense of unease and dread.

The film’s examination of the relationship between physical appearance and personal identity, as well as its critique of the objectification of women, have also contributed to its enduring legacy as a work of art and social commentary.

2. Judex (1963)

Judex is a 1963 French crime film directed by Georges Franju. The film is a modern interpretation of Louis Feuillade’s 1916 silent film serial of the same name, and follows the story of a wealthy Frenchman named Favraux, who has been targeted by a mysterious vigilante named Judex.

The film is notable for its stylish and inventive cinematography, its atmospheric use of black and white photography, and its imaginative set pieces.

The film features strong performances from its cast, including Channing Pollock as Judex and Michel Vitold as Favraux.

Judex is often considered one of Franju’s masterpieces, and is notable for its mix of crime drama and surrealism.

The film is also notable for its use of humor and its exploration of themes of justice, revenge, and the corrupting influence of wealth and power.

Overall, Judex is a visually stunning and imaginative film that showcases Franju’s skill as a director and his ability to create a unique and unforgettable cinematic experience.

It is a must-watch for fans of French cinema and anyone who appreciates films that are willing to take risks and push the boundaries of storytelling.

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3. Blood of the Beasts (1949)

“Blood of the Beasts” (French title: “Le Sang des bêtes”) is a documentary short film directed by Georges Franju and released in 1949.

The film is a disturbing yet poignant look at the slaughterhouses of Paris, showing in graphic detail the process of animal slaughter and the workers who carry out these tasks.

Despite its controversial subject matter, “Blood of the Beasts” is widely regarded as a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking.

Franju’s sensitive approach to the material, as well as his use of striking visuals and haunting music, creates a profound and thought-provoking work that forces viewers to confront the brutality of the meat industry and their own complicity in it.

The film was initially banned in several countries due to its graphic content, but it has since been recognized as an important and influential work of cinema.

“Blood of the Beasts” remains a powerful reminder of the ethical issues surrounding animal slaughter and the impact of human actions on the natural world.

Blood Of The Beasts (Le Sang Des Betes)
  • Unknown (Actor)
  • Georges Franju (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

4. Spotlight on a Murderer (1961)

“Spotlight on a Murderer” (French title: “Pleins feux sur l’assassin”) is a 1961 French film directed by Georges Franju.

The film follows the story of Count Hervé de Kerloguen, a wealthy aristocrat who dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving his heirs to fight for his fortune. However, things take a sinister turn when someone starts killing off potential heirs one by one.

The film features a strong cast, including Pierre Brasseur, Pascale Audret, Marianne Koch, and Jean-Louis Trintignant. The cinematography by Marcel Fradetal is striking and helps to create an eerie and foreboding atmosphere.

As the body count rises, the remaining heirs become increasingly paranoid and suspicious of one another. The film is a clever whodunit, with plenty of twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the very end.

“Spotlight on a Murderer” is notable for its commentary on the decadence of the French aristocracy, and its portrayal of the characters as morally bankrupt and selfish.

The film also has a strong gothic aesthetic, with its setting in a dilapidated castle and its use of shadows and darkness to create a sense of foreboding.

Overall, “Spotlight on a Murderer” is a compelling thriller that remains a classic of French cinema.

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Spotlight on a Murderer
  • Marianne Koch (Actor)
  • Georges Franju (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)

5. Head Against the Wall (1959)

“Head Against the Wall” (original title “La Tête contre les murs”) is a 1959 French drama film directed by Georges Franju.

The film stars Pierre Brasseur, Paul Meurisse, and Jean-Pierre Mocky and follows the story of François Gérane (played by Mocky), a young man who is committed to a mental institution by his wealthy family after he becomes violent.

The film explores themes of societal expectations, conformity, and the struggle for personal freedom. It presents a scathing critique of the French mental health system and the ways in which it can be used as a tool of social control.

“Head Against the Wall” was one of the first French films to deal with mental illness in a serious and compassionate way, and it was praised for its sensitive portrayal of the patients and their struggles.

The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release and is now considered a classic of French cinema.

It was also notable for featuring the first major screen role for actor Jean-Pierre Mocky, who would go on to become a major figure in French cinema himself.

6. Hôtel des Invalides (1952)

“Hôtel des Invalides” is a 1952 French documentary film directed by Georges Franju. The film explores the history and legacy of the Hôtel des Invalides, a military hospital and museum in Paris that was built by Louis XIV in the 17th century.

The film uses a mix of archival footage, photographs, and interviews to chronicle the history of the institution, which was originally established as a home for disabled and retired soldiers.

It also explores the military history of France, from the wars of Louis XIV to World War II, and includes footage of military parades, ceremonies, and battles.

One of the film’s main themes is the human cost of war and the impact it has on soldiers and their families.

It includes interviews with veterans who describe their experiences on the battlefield and their struggles to readjust to civilian life.

The film is also notable for its stunning cinematography and its use of music and sound to create a powerful emotional impact.

It features a score by composer Maurice Jarre and includes a haunting choral arrangement of the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.”

Overall, “Hôtel des Invalides” is a moving and thought-provoking documentary that offers a powerful tribute to the sacrifices made by French soldiers throughout history.

It is a testament to Franju’s skill as a filmmaker and his ability to blend history, art, and social commentary into a cohesive and impactful work of cinema.

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7. Le grand Méliès (1952)

Le Grand Méliès is a French documentary film directed by Georges Franju, released in 1952. The film is a tribute to the life and work of the pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès, who is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of cinema.

The documentary tells the story of Méliès’ life and career, from his early years as a magician and stage performer to his groundbreaking work in the nascent film industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The film features interviews with many of Méliès’ contemporaries and collaborators, as well as rare archival footage of his films and performances.

Le Grand Méliès is notable for its innovative use of sound and image, incorporating music, narration, and sound effects to create a rich and immersive experience for the viewer.

The film is also a testament to Franju’s own love of cinema, and his admiration for Méliès’ groundbreaking work in the medium.

Overall, Le Grand Méliès is an important and influential work of documentary filmmaking, and a must-see for anyone interested in the history of cinema and the groundbreaking work of Georges Méliès.

Le grand Méliès
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeanne d'Alcy, François Lallement, André Méliès (Actors)
  • Georges Franju (Director) - Georges Franju (Writer) - Fred Orain (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. Nuits rouges (1974)

Nuits rouges is a 1974 French-Italian mystery film directed by Georges Franju. The film follows a group of criminals who have stolen a cache of jewels and are pursued by a mysterious figure known as “The Man Without a Face”.

As the criminals are killed off one by one, they begin to suspect that The Man Without a Face may be one of their own.

Nuits rouges is notable for its stylish and inventive cinematography, its use of color and light to create a dreamlike atmosphere, and its imaginative set pieces.

The film features strong performances from its cast, including Gayle Hunnicutt, Jacques Champreux, and Josephine Chaplin.

The film is often considered one of Franju’s most visually striking works, and is notable for its blend of mystery, horror, and surrealism.

The film also explores themes of guilt, paranoia, and the corrupting influence of wealth and power.

Overall, Nuits rouges is a visually stunning and imaginative film that showcases Franju’s skill as a director and his ability to create a unique and unforgettable cinematic experience.

It is a must-watch for fans of French cinema and anyone who appreciates films that are willing to take risks and push the boundaries of storytelling.

9. La première nuit (1958)

“La première nuit” (English title: “The First Night”) is a drama film directed by Georges Franju and released in 1958. The film tells the story of a young woman named Elisabeth who is preparing for her wedding day.

As she reflects on her past relationships and experiences, she begins to question whether she truly loves her fiancé and whether marriage is the right choice for her.

“La première nuit” is notable for its sensitive portrayal of female sexuality and its nuanced exploration of the complexities of love and commitment.

The film’s themes and imagery have been compared to those of the French New Wave movement, and its subtle, introspective approach to storytelling sets it apart from other films of its era.

Overall, “La première nuit” is a beautifully crafted and deeply affecting film that showcases Georges Franju’s skill as a director. Fans of French cinema and romantic dramas may appreciate this thoughtful and thought-provoking work.

10. Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962)

“Thérèse Desqueyroux” is a 1962 French film directed by Georges Franju and based on the novel of the same name by François Mauriac.

The film follows the story of Thérèse, a young woman living in rural France in the early 20th century, who marries Bernard Desqueyroux, a wealthy landowner.

However, Thérèse soon becomes disillusioned with her marriage and her life in the countryside. She begins to feel trapped and suffocated by the expectations placed on her as a wife and as a member of the aristocracy.

As her discontent grows, Thérèse becomes increasingly reckless and manipulative, and eventually takes drastic action to try to escape her life.

The film is notable for its strong lead performance by Emmanuelle Riva as Thérèse, who conveys a sense of deep longing and frustration with subtle nuance. The supporting cast, including Philippe Noiret as Bernard, is also strong.

“Thérèse Desqueyroux” is a thoughtful exploration of the constraints placed on women in early 20th-century France, and the ways in which societal expectations can lead to feelings of suffocation and despair.

The film’s themes of class and gender are still relevant today, and the story’s tragic conclusion is both poignant and thought-provoking.

Overall, “Thérèse Desqueyroux” is a well-crafted and thought-provoking film that is worth watching for its nuanced performances and thoughtful exploration of societal expectations and the human condition.

11. Monsieur et Madame Curie (1956)

“Monsieur et Madame Curie” (1956) is a French biographical drama film directed by Georges Franju. The film tells the story of Marie and Pierre Curie, the pioneering scientists who discovered radium and polonium and won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.

The film follows the couple’s personal and professional lives, including their struggles to obtain funding for their research, the tragic death of Pierre, and Marie’s subsequent efforts to continue their work and raise their two children as a single mother.

“Monsieur et Madame Curie” is a reverential portrayal of the Curie’s lives and work, and is notable for its accuracy in depicting the scientific discoveries and processes that the couple undertook.

The film features strong performances by its lead actors, including Claude Dauphin as Pierre and Edwige Feuillère as Marie.

The film was well-received by audiences and critics alike upon its release, and is now considered a classic of French cinema. It was praised for its depiction of the Curies’ scientific achievements, as well as its sensitive portrayal of the couple’s relationship and personal lives.

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3 Characteristics of Georges Franju Films

Georges Franju was a French filmmaker known for his unique style and his ability to blend horror, fantasy, and realism in his films. Here are three characteristics of his films:

Visual Style: Franju’s films are known for their striking and often surreal visuals. He frequently employs close-ups and extreme angles to create a sense of disorientation and unease.

He also uses innovative editing techniques, such as jump cuts and superimpositions, to create dreamlike sequences that blur the line between reality and fantasy.

Exploration of Human Themes: Franju’s films often explore complex themes related to human nature, including identity, mortality, and the limits of the human body.

He is particularly interested in the intersection of science and humanity, and his films frequently feature scientists or doctors who push the boundaries of what is possible.

Social Commentary: Despite their often fantastical elements, Franju’s films are rooted in a deep concern for social issues.

He frequently uses his films to comment on topics such as mental illness, the dangers of modern technology, and the impact of war on soldiers and civilians. His work is characterized by a sense of social awareness and a desire to shed light on important issues.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Georges Franju Films

Georges Franju was a French filmmaker who made significant contributions to the French cinema during the mid-20th century.

His films are characterized by their unique blend of horror, poetry, and surrealism, and they are widely considered to be some of the most innovative and influential works in French cinema history. Here are three reasons why you should watch Georges Franju films:

Unique visual style: Franju was known for his striking visual style, which often involved surreal imagery and creative camera work.

His films are full of haunting and beautiful images that stay with you long after the movie is over. For example, his 1960 film “Eyes Without a Face” features a number of unforgettable images, including a woman wearing a hauntingly lifelike mask, and a scene in which she wanders through a deserted park, her white dress billowing in the wind.

Exploration of human psychology: Franju’s films often explore the darker aspects of human psychology, including themes such as madness, obsession, and the desire for power.

He was particularly interested in exploring the ways in which people can be driven to do terrible things, even when they think they are acting for the greater good.

His films are often thought-provoking and intellectually challenging, and they leave viewers with plenty to think about long after the credits roll.

Influence on cinema history: Franju’s films had a major impact on the development of French cinema, and his work continues to be studied and admired by filmmakers today.

He was one of the pioneers of the French New Wave, a movement that sought to break free from the constraints of traditional filmmaking and explore new approaches to storytelling and visual style.

His influence can be seen in the work of many of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers, and his films continue to be a source of inspiration and innovation for new generations of filmmakers.

Best Georges Franju Films – Wrapping Up

Georges Franju was a French film director known for his unique style and his imaginative and visually striking films. Here are three of his best films:

Eyes Without a Face (1960): This horror classic follows a doctor who is obsessed with restoring the face of his disfigured daughter, and is willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve his goal.

The film is notable for its stylish and dreamlike cinematography, its haunting score, and its exploration of themes of beauty, obsession, and identity.

Judex (1963): This crime film is a modern interpretation of Louis Feuillade’s 1916 silent film serial of the same name. The film follows a mysterious vigilante named Judex as he targets a wealthy Frenchman who has committed crimes against his family.

The film is notable for its stylish and inventive cinematography, its imaginative set pieces, and its exploration of themes of justice, revenge, and the corrupting influence of wealth and power.

Nuits rouges (1974): This mystery film follows a group of criminals who have stolen a cache of jewels and are pursued by a mysterious figure known as “The Man Without a Face”.

The film is notable for its stylish and inventive cinematography, its use of color and light to create a dreamlike atmosphere, and its exploration of themes of guilt, paranoia, and the corrupting influence of wealth and power.

Overall, Georges Franju’s films are known for their imaginative and visually striking style, their exploration of themes of beauty, obsession, and identity, and their unique blend of genres such as horror, crime, and surrealism.

Whether you are a fan of classic horror films, crime dramas, or experimental cinema, there is something for everyone in Franju’s filmography.