The Eyes of My Mother – USA, 2016

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The Eyes of My Mother is a 2016 American horror film written, edited and directed by Nicolas Pesce, making his directorial debut. The film was produced by Borderline Presents and Tandem Pictures. It stars Diana Agostini, Olivia Bond, Will Brill, Joey Curtis-Green, Flora Diaz, Kika Magalhaes and Clara Wong.

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Buy: Amazon.com

  • Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery
  • Interview With Director Nicolas Pesce
  • Theatrical Trailer

A UK theatrical release, by Park Circus, is scheduled for 24 March 2017.

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In their secluded farmhouse, a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death.

One afternoon, a mysterious visitor shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a dark form…

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Reviews:

“The Eyes of My Mother is both strange and strangely enthralling… Pesce cleverly keeps most of the actual violence offscreen, with sound effects, suggestive cuts and outwardly quiet but entirely horrifying images — such as little Francisca mopping blood off a tiled floor — doing most of the heavy liftinscreen-shot-2017-02-15-at-10-14-59g.” Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

“In many ways, it plays less as a narrative feature and more like a terrifying thought you do your best to shake out of your head as quickly as possible. While this is clearly Pesce’s intention and the cosmetics are top-notch, the film never works as much more than a cinematic experiment solely focused on only the absolute worst inclinations of human nature.” Dan Mecca, The Film Stage

“Although it’s only his first feature film, Nicolas Pesce has delivered something truly special with The Eyes of My Mother—it’s a film that defines horror. And in doing so, Pesce has established himself as one of the most exciting filmmakers around (I can’t even begin to imagine what he’ll do next), by creating a moody piece of nightmare cinema that’s destined to become a classic.” Ryan C., The Missing Reel

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“Pesce and his superb d.p. are sure to make every image we do see count. There are individual frames here, whether of corpses milkily enveloped in a bathtub or blood-smeared fingerprints on a refrigerator door, that hover on the precipice of dreamscape, and may linger in that realm for some viewers long after watching.” Guy Lodge, Variety

“The striking cinematography is what will hit you first, and it plays into an unnerving mood that carries throughout. This feels like an uncertain time and place, while the film is caught somewhere between a Grimm’s fairytale, Polanski-esque unease and Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs.” Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow.co.uk

“While stories that mimic the killings of Ed Gein are nothing too original now, The Eyes of my Mother still manages to have a freshness about it. It’s more artistic and stylish than other necrophilic gore fests that have taken similar inspirations. This film seems to take a much more psychological route, focusing on the why rather than the what.” Christopher Stewart, UK Horror Scene

“The sound effects are outstanding – as is the measured use of silence. Even at 76 min this can’t sustain itself but there is much promise here. Logic, however, is thin on the ground and the ending is sketchy – this is a screenplay that drags you to the depths only for you to emerge empty-handed.” Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, London Metro

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“From its black-and-white presentation to its minimalist construction the film cries out arthouse, but there’s a sense it’s trying way too hard. Scenes that should be shocking end up being strangely comical…” Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

“We never really know what motivates Francisca’s actions, so watching her try to seduce a young woman, or talk about her parents is hard. This isn’t a normal story either, with a cogent beginning, middle, and end, so that makes cozying up to Francisca that much more difficult. Instead, Pesce supplies us with a fractured series of images that are so disturbing because they’re essentially incoherent.” Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com

“Only necessary evils are captured on camera – a hard-fast rule more filmmakers should stand by … This is not a film about a vicious countryside slasher, but instead a poor woman’s unstable livelihood thanks to the most mangled upbringing any child could face.” Matt Donato, We Got This Covered

” …this is perhaps a little too oblique and arty for its own good, though its slightly pretentious stabs at poetic style don’t take away from how good Magalhaes is in the difficult role of a cracked heroine […] the gorgeous monochrome look goes for the magical feel of Night of the Hunter rather than the downhome grunge of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“With minimal dialogue and a confined backdrop, the movie is strikingly shot in black and white by Zach Kuperstein and refuses to exploit potentially exploitative material – leaving us with an overwhelming sense of melancholia, rather than disgust.” Steven West, Horrorscreams Videovault

Cast and characters:

  • Diana Agostini as Mother
  • Olivia Boand as Young Francisca
  • Will Brill as Charlie
  • Joey Curtis-Green as Antonio
  • Flora Diaz as Lucy
  • Kika Magalhaes as Francisca
  • Paul Nazak as Father
  • Clara Wong as Kimiko

Release:

Premiering at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, the film prompted a polarised response but was immediately acquired by Magnet Releasing who are releasing it on Blu-ray and DVD on March 7, 2017.

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