The Eyes of My Mother is a quite beautifully shot and eerie film. It is split into three chapters, each showing how the life of Francesca is altered by traumatic events.
In the first segment we are introduced to the family unit; little Francesca, her mother and her father. Tragedy comes calling and everything is about to change. The violence and most of the gore in this segment are implied, off camera and added to the toning down effect that the black and white imagery has on gore and viscera it softens the effects visually, whilst using sounds and leaving it to the imagination it is a powerful moment.
Francesca, even at this early age, has some warped sensibilities, some strange ideas about what it is to be friendly, to care, and it makes you wonder where she has got these ideas from, in a nature/nurture kind of way. This aspect repeats throughout the film as she continues to make strange decisions; caring but cruel, helpful but misguided. From early on we see a little girl who has been left isolated by a callous act and the implications of that act are felt onward throughout the film.
As she grows and grows ever more isolated and lonely her desire and need gains strength, leading to ever more shocking acts, and these are undertaken with an impassivity that exposes the lack of empathy that Francesca has. There is something completely unhinged here but it is done in an everyday kind of way, like this is all nothing to get worked up about and that is the real wonder, the horrific soul to this film.
The film looks great in glorious black and white and it is really well acted by Olivia Bond as young Francesca and particularly by Kika Magalhaes as the adolescent and fully grown lonely woman. I can’t say that I enjoyed this film but it is an experience and it will be interesting to see what the director, Nicolas Pesce, comes up with next.