Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Blood Of The Beasts"

If you are looking for an excuse to turn vegetarian, this film is it. After I was done watching it, I was only too eager to erase all my memories of those wonderful lunches and dinners in Paris. It takes an awful lot of beating and violence and blood-letting for us to have that one elegant meal.

Georges Franju's 1949 classic documentary "Blood of the Beasts" is the ultimate anti-March Of the Penguins. It contains no cute animal images and it has no inspirational storyline. If "March of The Penguins" was about the self-preservation instinct, consider this: the animals in this film are way past that point. Chances of survival are zero. The forces here are much crueler, colder and stronger than polar winters.

This 20-minute film takes us inside the abattoirs of Paris, circa 1949 and shows us how cows, horses and lambs are turned into meat for our consumption. I double-dare a vegetarian to look at this film without squirming. I double dare meat-eaters to look at the film without squirming. Nothing could quite prepare me for Franju's painful directness (a reviewer on IMDB called it "sick and disturbing".) The sensation some of the scenes produce can only be compared to the pain one feels when struck hard in one's, er, cojones. It really is that bad.

("Blood of the Beasts" is available as a bonus feature on Criterion's "Eyes without a Face".)

Meanwhile, the vegetarianism debate still confuses me. Is killing an animal for food wrong? What about killing an animal for sport?


wildflower seed said...

There is a very good reason for being vegetarian. Meat is more difficult to digest than fruits and vegetables, uses up much more body resources. More generally, meat fuels the flames of passion - have you ever noticed the quality of your mind after you have eaten a nice juicy steak? The Ayurvedic diet, which is the prescription for a calm, still mind, forbids meat for this very reason. The whole moral debate is a sideshow really.

That said, I continue to be an all-eatarian. Despite my best intentions.

km said...


I couldn't have put it better: "the whole moral debate is a sideshow really"

The trouble is, sideshows are fun. And so I continue to continue being an omnivorous creature, just like you.