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. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the debut feature of a late-flowering, great filmmaker.
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