Friday, August 03, 2007

Georges Franju - Le Sang Des Bêtes

"The slaughterhouse is linked to religion in so far as the temples of bygone eras (not to mention those of the Hindus in our own day) served two purposes: they were used both for prayer and for killing. The result (and this judgement is confirmed by the chaotic aspect of present-day slaughterhouses) was certainly a disturbing convergence of the mysteries of myth and the ominous grandeur typical of those places in which blood flows. In America, curiously enough, W. B. Seabrook has expressed an intense regret; observing that the orgiastic life has survived, but that the sacrificial blood is not part of the cocktail mix, he finds present custom insipid. In our time, nevertheless, the slaughterhouse is cursed and quarantined like a plague-ridden ship. Now, the victims of this curse are neither butchers nor beasts, but those same good folk who countenance, by now, only their own unseemliness, an unseemliness commensurate with an unhealthy need of cleanliness, with irascible meanness, and boredom. The curse (terrifying only to those who utter it) leads them to vegetate as far as possible from the slaughterhouse, to exile themselves, out of propriety, to a flabby world in which nothing fearful remains and in which, subject to the ineradicable obsession of shame, they are reduced to eating cheese". Georges Bataille - "Abbatoir", Documents 6, 1929.

Below you will find Georges Franju's short documentary "Le Sang Des Bêtes" ("The Blood Of Animals"). The documentary presents the gory, bloodstained reality of the slaughter of animals at the Abattoirs de La Villette in Paris. Stylistically, the film seems inspired bij Eli Lotard's photographs of that very same slaughterhouse, which were published in 'Documents'.

I first saw the documentary on the Criterion DVD of Franju's best known film, "Les Yeux Sans Visage" ("Eyes without a Face"), which includes this documentary as an extra.

A word of warning: the documentary has very graphical images of slaughter. If the IMDB user comments are to be believed, many a viewer became a vegetarian after seeing this film.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent cinematographic jewel by Franju.Beyond his cinematographic quality, it is the perfect metaphoric view on the " unshowable", aka, the Shoah or Holocaust. The movie is full of referees: External life of people, compatibility of life and dead, presence of the trains, the almost fordian process of "mass" killing... in fact, the only way to watch what cannot - and should not - to be watched. I guess the morbid and disgusting sensation it leaves on us answers to reasons that go beyond the simple killing of animals. Le sang des bêtes" is, in my opinion, the best documentary ever made upon the extermination of the jews by nazi murders and the only way to show it.