The Big Shave (1967) – (short film)

by Afra Nariman

The Big Shave (1967)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Peter Bernuth


A daily action typically associated with cleanliness and (for the sake of metaphor), “order” slowly regresses into an act of accepted self-harm, unchecked violence, and eventual blood-shed. The Big Shave essentially scrutinizes what American society (in 1967’s socio-political circumstances, but still today) considers proper routine, or a way of being in the world and doing things. Through this scrutinization, the film asserts humans’ complicity in their own desecration — physically, but also morally. The man bleeds (the physical consequence of his actions), but notably, he does not react to his act of inflicting pain, or to getting cut, or to the sight of blood — he is numb to these repercussions (a moral collapse as a consequence of a routine action). Also important to mention is that we watch this everyday act descend into blood-shed, at times through a mirror; implicating the audience further, indicating that we too may be complicit in occurrences of destruction and moral collapse.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

View this Review on Letterboxd:

Like and Follow on Letterboxd to see my other reviews, and for new ones regularly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s