This brutal documentary shows us the ways of Parisian slaughterhouses around the year 1949, in the most realistic way possible; showing it all in gory detail. Watch the workers do their magic with axes, hammers, bolt-pistols and knives.
Georges Franju's documentary takes us to a place that we hadn't ventured into before this. He takes us to a place that most of us don't want to see. Many of us close our eyes so we won't know of the realities of slaughterhouses, or atleast so that we won't think about them when we go to the store to shop for some meatballs, but it's hard not to after this one. Don't take it the wrong way, this documentary isn't made to turn people into vegetarians, but the footage in this film is so surreal and bizarre that people don't understand that this actually happens.
It starts off showing parts of the city, children playing and a couple kissing before we are shown the tools which the butchers use. After that, a big beautiful white horse is brought in, and you just know that you don't want to see the following scene. The horse gets a bolt in his head and drops to the floor in a second, if not less. The next step is a knife in the chest, leading to a river of blood flooding out of the horse. This is just the first of many animal killings we get to see, and likely the easiest one to watch.
Franju does a good job at documenting the activities, they are shown exactly the way they were done. We see that the workers have adjusted to this grotesque way to earn money, they just get through their day like any other working man would. A quote that appears on the screen comes to mind; "I shall strike you without anger and without hate, like a butcher".
Everything is done perfectly in this documentary, everything from the narration to the camera that sometimes just seems to be observing the killings, like seeing through the eyes of a person who stands right there.
Bottom line is, this is an important piece of documentation. Not only does it open our eyes to a whole different world than we are used to, but it's a piece of history. I would want everyone to see this, but it is not for the squeamish, so many should stay away.
If you're having a hard time finding the movie, you can find it as extra material on the 'Eyes Without A Face' DVD.