THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (REVIEW)
Dir. Nicolas Pesce
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is a blend of genres that takes the central focus of a young girl who grows to be one of the most menacing creatures in recent cinema. Her heartbreak and evolution from innocent child to full on predator is a mesmerising watch from start to end.
Split in three chapters, Mother sees a young Francisca witness the brutal death of her mother at the hands of a merciless serial killer. As the harrowing aftermath unfolds, it is the hunter who becomes the prey as the family he attacks appears well versed in this kind of activity.
Chapter 2, Family, sees an older Francisca (Kika Magalhaes) take to life after her mother’s death and the experience of the monstrous happenings that have lingered on since the brutal events that took away her mother. This chapter sees an older, but no wiser, daughter growing into adulthood with questions and desires that come with her age. As she experiments with the unknown and comes to accept the reality of her unnatural childhood, the confidence and withdrawn character really accepts her want and need in life which truly comes into fashion in the terrifying closing chapter of this film.
At times harrowing, yet always mesmerising, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER capture beautifully the coming of age of Francisca like no other. The film itself translates as a modern day fairy tale more akin to the book of Grimm than anything suitable for sensitive children with a heart at the centre of its disturbingly surreal study of a broken home.
Shot in crisp black and white, the beauty of Nicolas Pesce’s cinematography is in every screen. Where the film could have placed itself amongst the torture stuffed films that created a genre of their own in the early 2000’s, the artistic approach does the film favours to help it stand well above its comrades with a penchant for claret. The most horrific of scenes are captured in such visceral beauty that it’s hard to dispute the films art. However, the real standout attribute to Pesce’s debut film is Kika Magalhaes. Her presence always hypnotic, yet she blends innocence and horror so naturally. The unpredictability of what her character will do next is as much a testament to her acting prowess as it is to the brilliant script.
If there’s a lesson to be had from this film is that the horror film is not dead, pouring with fresh ambition and a purely magnetic performance, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is a film not to be missed that is mesmerising and beautifully haunting throughout.