Georges Franju

Scen.: Georges Franju, Jacques Prévert (commento). F.: Georges Delaunay, Jean Penzer. M.: Suzanne Sandberg. Mus.: Henri Crolla. Int.: Roger Pigaut (voce narrante), Jacqueline Lemaire (la bambina), il cane Rex. Prod.: Claude Jaeger per Procinex, 35mm. D.: 25’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Making this movie dragged me down the slippery slope of sentimentality. I regret it. The little girl who loved her dog and was so sorry she’d lost it was extraneous. I failed at what I had previously managed to avoid… On the other hand I chose not to shoot the crucial scene at the dog pound, the gassing. I didn’t want to witness an atrocity like that.

Georges Franju, in M-M Brumagne, Franju. Impressions et aveux, L’Âge d’Homme, Lausanne 1977


It is this omission that makes Mon chien the cruelest of all of Franju’s movies, because everything is normal about this journey of a dog condemned to death as soon as its master removes its collar and its name-tag. The very first images betray unease in the heart of bourgeois family life (a house in Paris’ posh 16th arrondissement), with its 1950s artefacts, a car, a highway and a forest for sunny outings, which the camera penetrates in a lengthy tracking shot ending in front of a giant cross. The countryside is not a reassuring place, with its ominous church. “Alas, stray dogs always seek out the protection of human beings”, reports Jacques Prévert’s terse commentary: the dog is as passive as the cattle in Le Sang des bêtes. The viewer is hardly spared anything, except the sight of a gas chamber and a vivisection table. Enunciating their names is enough. The film ends on an empty cage.

Bernard Eisenschitz

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by courtesy of Gaumont