classic film

Five-star cinema: Georges Franju’s ‘Eyes Without A Face’

The French horror classic features Edith Scob as the woman with the white mask.

A successful plastic surgeon with controversial views on skin grafting; a well-appointed villa that houses a secret operation theatre; a loyal staffer who is a keeper of secrets; a young woman who is the subject of constant experimentation – not Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In (2011) but Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960).

The French movie that also inspired the title of one of British punk star Billy Idol’s most well-known songs opens on a dark road where a determined-looking woman is driving a vehicle with a passenger, who is then tipped into a nearby lake. The body is identified as Christiane (Edith Scob), the daughter of plastic surgeon Genessier (Pierre Brasseur). The doctor claims that his daughter killed herself since she could not bear the disfigurement caused to her face in an accident. But Christiane is alive, her burnt visage hidden by a white mask. Her father is capturing young women and transplanting their skin tissue onto Christiane’s face in the hope that she will grow a new visage. Christiane is divided about the horrific experiments. “My face frightens me, my mask frightens me even more,” she tells her father’s secretary (Alida Valli), who is both the procurer of women and the dispatcher of their bodies.

The trailer of ‘Eyes Without A Face’.

Franju’s best-known films include the crime thriller Judex, in which a masked vigilante kidnaps an unscrupulous banker, and the documentary Blood of the Beasts, which is set in a slaughterhouse and has the power to make vegetarians out of its viewers.

Franju’s ‘Blood of the Beasts.’

The methodical stripping of flesh from the bone in Blood of the Beasts finds an eerie echo in Eyes Without A Face, one of the earliest films to warn about the ethical problems with plastic surgery and the obsession with blemish-free skin. Franju directs the simple story with economy and flourish, using close-ups beautifully to explore the psychological state of the key characters. Edith Scob is especially haunting as Christiane, her skeletal frame and sad eyes conveying her anguish and ambivalence at her father’s dogged attempts to restore her beauty.

In one of the movie’s most moving scenes, a series of photographs depicts a failed experiment to fix Christiane’s face, proving the inability of human intervention in halting atrophy.

Christiane’s deterioration.
Christiane’s deterioration.

Although Scob has appeared in several French films, and most recently starred in Mia Hansen-Love’s Things to Come (2016), her performance in Eyes Without a Face proved to be iconic. She showed up with her memorable mask in Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (2012), in which she chauffeurs the lead character around. In the final sequence, Scob reaches for the face shield that still has the ability to haunt the imagination all these years later.

Edith Scob in ‘Holy Motors’.
Edith Scob in ‘Holy Motors’.
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As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.


So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.


As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

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By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

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To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.