Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

The Man Without a Head (2003)

with one comment

Released on the Cinema 16 European Shorts DVD Collection, this film by Juan Solaris (son of Fernando Solaris) is a visually stunning piece. My favorite scene occurs at the beginning, when the man without a head is dancing gleefully around his apartment and thinking of his lover. Whatever movie wizardry they used to make the headless protagonist look so unique is one of the many examples of how superior the aesthetics of the film are. Here is the Short Films Blog review of the film, though I must disagree with them about the complexity of the story.

The film is set in an industrial future world, where new technologies and practices are obviously foreign to us if a man can walk the streets without a head and still live and, even more curiously, talk. When the protagonist visits the “head shop” to find himself a topper, we see that this future land commodifies body parts. He can purchase and switch out whatever head that suits him. Another woman at the shop is also trying on a new head, a practice that doesn’t seem new to her. In this society, we can buy our uniqueness or our conformity. In the end, the head the main character likes the most does not match him, and he realizes he need not match a face to love. There is plenty expression and feeling in his body. His love obviously does not mind the lack of head, lips, eyes, and therefore, neither should the protagonist or the viewer. That the director got us to feel for this character with no face on which to read his emotions is proof that this story is more than an excuse for exciting imagery.


Written by Alisa Hathaway

March 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

One Response

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  1. when was the protagonist called by his name (phelps) in this movie????


    May 12, 2012 at 3:58 am

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