The Eyes of my Mother (Movie Review)
If you ever take the time to peruse the keywords on the ol' IMDb you get a pretty on the nose overview of whatever movie it is you've typed in. Okay, so maybe not for every single movie--maybe some don't even scratch the surface. For The Eyes of the Mother keywords won't even come close to painting a full picture of Nicolas Pesce's debut feature.
For those keeping score, the keywords most pertinent to the movie in question without clicking "See All" were: death, dark, lonely and tragedy. Without laying out the synopsis, those essentially set you up for all you need to know about The Eyes of the Mother. Filmed entirely in black and white Pesce's film is essentially a dread inducing character study of Francisca- played seductively subtle by Kika Magalhaes. Tragedy strikes Francisca at a young age infecting her innocence and leaving her with no moral guidance which guides the film into her daily life as an adult.
Pesce often chooses to focus on the crushing loneliness of a secluded rural life. Francisca's mental stability ravaged at a young age makes the study of her behavior fascinating while the grotesque imagery, off-screen violence combined with stomach churning sound effects complete filmmaker's unique vision. The choice to film in black and white intensifies the emptiness of Francisca's character. At the same time it both works with and against the films ability to connect or perhaps to create a welcoming aesthetic to the story of the character.
The small details of Pesce's script lay the groundwork of the character study. The daughter of a surgeon that endures a morally bankrupt act of violence and is corrupt at a young age. From then on out it's a filmmaker stretching their arthouse muscles and wrestling ambiguity with mixed results.
Clocking in at a brisk 77 minutes there's a fair amount of meat to chew on within Pesce's introduction that too is not without accompanying gristle. There is much to dissect within The Eyes of the Mother and Pesce navigates its innards like a confident if somewhat flawed surgeon not unlike the cold and calculated 'monster' at its center. The arthouse crowd will eat up Pesce's debut, but the most valuable keyword pertaining to how to enjoy this movie for anyone else thinking about seeking it out is: patience.