Director: Nicolas Pesce
Starring: Kika Magalhães, Will Brill, Olivia Bond, Diana Agostini, Paul Nazak
Runtime: 77 minutes
Release Date: March 24
FRANCISCA (the eerily calm Kika Magalhães) witnesses the gruesome death of her mother as a child, when they invite madman Charlie (Will Brill) into their home, yet befriends the insane culprit after her Father imprisons him. She severs his vocal chords and removes his eyes, making him her helpless pet.
Fast-forward to her life in her mid-twenties, we see that the haunting memories of her childhood have laid the foundations for her violent insanity. Her father has died, yet she cares for, bathes, and sits his corpse up at the dinner table. She murders her mother’s killer when he attempts to escape and the thought of being alone leads her to kidnap a baby, holding its mother as her new prisoner and taking away her ability to see or speak.
The Eyes of My Mother is an extremely impressive directorial debut from New York filmmaker Nicolas Pesce who also wrote the script and edited the film. Pesce manages to craft beautiful camera angles and utterly terrify the audience without the use of colour.
“You may consider walking out half-way through but when you look past the blood, guts, and corpse-fondling, you’ll see that there’s a beautiful piece of art lurking within.”
To say this film is traditionally “enjoyable” is an utter lie, but to say that it is a bad film is an even greater one. You may consider walking out half-way through but when you look past the blood and guts, you’ll see that there’s a beautiful piece of art lurking within.
What makes the film so scary is that you never see what makes Francisca tick, or why she murders and tortures people. That is what makes this picture different from the usual slasher flicks, there is no straightforward motive. And despite being surrounded by death, horror, and violence, Francisca maintains a dead calm for nearly the entire film.
The aesthetic screams arthouse, so your full attention is needed throughout, and you may feel sick in the theatre, or wonder why you would subject yourself to such masochism. However, the one thing this film is not, is boring.
A black-and-white, subtitled, stomach-churning arthouse flick is not everyone’s cup of tea; The Eyes of My Mother is very much an acquired taste. However, if you feel like broadening your horizons, or simply want to disturb yourself, this is your kind of flick. The weak-willed and faint-hearted, however, should keep away.
In a nutshell—The Eyes of My Mother is a grizzly tale showcasing arthouse horror cinema at its most disturbing.