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Blood of the Beasts (1949)

Blood of the Beasts

An afflictive short neo-realistic post-war documentary on killing animals for the food supply by Georges Franju.

In the outskirts of Paris, we witness in all its gory details the vivid depiction of horses, cattle, and sheep slaughtered in the local slaughterhouse while on the outside the good citizens enjoy the serene country life. The film tries to connect the average suburbanite’s life with the doings around the slaughterhouse. It maintains that slaughtering the animals so brutally with a variety of instruments, in some cases with a pickaxe through the skull and in others a sharp knife to slit the animal’s throat as the blood rushes out, makes these killings seem routine – just a banal job that must be done.

The surrealist Franju builds a case that violence is part of the culture and the nightmares that ensue because of war can probably be traced to the non-questioning acceptance of violence in ordinary life. Its imagery is hard to watch in B/W, in color it might have been unbearable.

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