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The Eyes of My Mother

Directed by Nicolas Pesce

USA, 2016

HOME, 29 March 2017

The Eyes of My Mother

It is a spare and elegant conte cruel where, as you would expect, horror engenders horror.

We have young girl living out in a farm in America. Francisca idolises her idiosyncratic mother, who is Portugese and was once an eye surgeon. When her mother dies, killed by a peripatetic stranger, she doesn’t so much take revenge as follow in her footsteps, by doing what her mother would have done. Her childhood, always sheltered and strange, becomes stranger still. She grows up in solitude and her sense of what is normal becomes skewered.

There are several deliciously disturbing moments here, evoking feelings of dread and horror, helplessness and atavism, but all seem somehow necessary. The film is in black and white, which makes you think of Edward Gorey’s weird stories with their monochrome drawings. There is a fine narrative economy here, also as with Gorey. Francisca’s love of Fado music, a music of extreme passions, adds a further layer of weirdness (yet as well plausibility to Francisca’s story) to what is already a well-weird affair.

This is a beautiful film and Kika Magalhaes’s performance is very impressive indeed.