Blood of the Beasts  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des bêtes) is a 1949 short French documentary film written and directed by Georges Franju. It is narrated by Georges Hubert and Nicole Ladmiral. The film features on the Criterion Collection DVD for Eyes Without a Face (1960).


Franju's film contrasts peaceful scenes of Parisian suburbia with scenes from a slaughterhouse. The film documents the slaughtering of a horse, sheep, and calves; once the horse is stunned by a pistol, it is bled and butchered. The film is narrated with unemotional, detached language. Some critics have suggested it can be seen as an allegory to events that happened in the Holocaust.


Franju states that he wasn't interested in the subject of slaughterhouses when he decided to make the film, but the location around the building was the Ourcq Canal, allowing him to make a documentary film. Franju stated by using a documentary film format, he was able to use both locations as lyrical counterpoints and "to explain it as a realist while remaining a surrealist by displacing the object in another context. In this new setting, the object rediscovers its quality as an object". The film marked the debut of documentary photographer Patrice Molinard who took stills during the shoot.

Blood of the Beasts was made as a black and white film as an aesthetic. Franju states "If it were in colour, it'd be repulsive... the sensation people get would be physical one."


  • Grand Prix International du Court Sujet 1950

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