An intense study of the clash between medical ideals, the first full-length work from Georges Franju (Les yeux sans visage, Judex) is a gripping examination of postwar psychiatric care, boasting a memorable cast including Pierre Brasseur, Anouk Aimée, Charles Aznavour, Paul Meurisse, and Jean-Pierre Mocky.
Mocky plays François Gérane, an aimless young man whose delinquent tendencies cause his father to have him committed to a psychiatric ward. There, under the cold command of Dr. Varmont (Brasseur), he finds himself fighting for his dignity, sanity, and freedom, barely holding on through the new-found love of his girlfriend Stephanie (Aimée) and the promise of rival Dr. Emery’s (Meurisse) more humane techniques.
Compassionate yet unflinching, La Tête contre les murs is a bold precursor to the likes of Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Milos Forman’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, revealing Franju’s poetic gift for creating images both concrete and evocative, and an ominous hint of the clinical horrors yet to come in Les yeux sans visage. — Masters of Cinema
Georges Franju (12 April 1912 – 5 November 1987) was a French filmmaker. He was born in Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine.
Before working in French cinema, Franju had several different jobs. These included working for an insurance company and in a noodle factory. Franju was also briefly in the military in Algeria and was discharged in 1932. On his return, Franju studied to become a set designer and later created backdrops for music halls including Casino de Paris and the Folles Bergère.
In the mid-thirties, Franju and Henri Langlois met through Franju’s twin brother Jacques Franju. As well as creating the 16 mm short film Le Métro, Langois and Franju also started a short-lived film magazine and created a film club called Le Cercle du Cinema with 500 francs he borrowed from Langlois’ parents. The club showed silent films from their own collections followed by an informal debate about them amongst members. From Le Cercle du Cinema, Franju and Langlois founded the Cinématheque… read more
A fairly disappointing film: works better as an exploration of the vicious circle of an angry young man's life than either a clash of medical ideals or analysis of the deterioration of the mind. Franju has an uncanny ability to depict the starkly real in a dramatic and poetic way.
Some films, and filmmakers, just can't catch the right kind of breaks as far as international reputation goes. A very smart United States distributor