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Screening the Paris suburbsFrom the silent era to the 1990s$
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Derek Schilling and Philippe Met

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106858

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106858.001.0001

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Georges Franju and the grotesque genius of the banlieue

Georges Franju and the grotesque genius of the banlieue

(p.90) 7 Georges Franju and the grotesque genius of the banlieue
Screening the Paris suburbs

Tristan Jean

Manchester University Press

The author addresses the spatial determinations at play in Georges Franju’s French horror masterpiece Les Yeux sans visage (1960), in which a mad scientist bent on reconstructing his daughter’s damaged face tortures and kills the unsuspecting young women he lures to his suburban villa. The author argues for a strong correlation between Franju’s directorial sensibility and the Paris suburbs’ culturally and geographically peripheral status. A locus of untold violence, Dr Génissier’s secluded villa cloaks the extraordinary under the guise of the ordinary to unsettle the film audience in a strong rejection of the nostalgic tones of Jacques Becker’s Casque d’or and of Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle from the same period. The author relates themes of banishment and disfiguration to the sociological effects of suburban upheaval during the Trente Glorieuses. The story of Dr Génissier’s experiments gone awry – ultimately a story about the duality of victimhood and predatory madness – comes symptomatically to express other social processes at work in French culture of the period.

Keywords:   marginality, madness, science, the grotesque, bourgeoisie

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