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The Eyes of My Mother

Canadian Premiere
  • USA
  • 2016
  • 77 mins
  • DCP
  • English / Portuguese
  • English (subtitles)

“An exquisite waking nightmare” - Guy Lodge, VARIETY

“A shockingly original tone poem… a wondrous tapestry of emotional disorientation” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

“A stark, masterfully crafted and admirably minimal horror movie… you’ll be profoundly affected and moved” - Chris Alexander, SHOCK TILL YOU DROP

First-time writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s black-and-white nightmare had everyone talking—and screaming—during its Sundance launch, and now THE EYES OF MY MOTHER sets it bloody peepers on Fantasia. This rural horror show jangles the nerves from the get-go, when a curly-haired lunatic arrives at the remote farm of an odd family. Alone with her young daughter Francisca, Mother, a former Portuguese surgeon with an eyeball fixation, makes the mistake of letting the man into the house. Father later arrives home and is none too pleased to find his wife butchered in the bathtub, while his daughter quietly sits in the kitchen. After Father and child “handle” the psycho, the story jumps ahead to follow the adult orphaned Francisca as she adopts some unusual coping skills in dealing with her past traumas, terrible loneliness and a few very violent tendencies.

Newbie Pesce’s assured feature debut evokes Takashi Miike at his most disturbing, Lucky McKee’s exposé of the fractured feminine psyche at its most sympathetic, and Terrence Malick’s painterly landscapes and pacing at their most evocative. Even with such admirable reference points, Pesce still delivers something unsettlingly unique with THE EYES OF MY MOTHER. The movie’s shocking images will come back to haunt you long after you make it home safely (thankfully, Pesce lensed his stunner in B&W — our nerves would not have survived these horrors in colour!). Likewise, Francisca’s misguided intentions, born out of isolation and terrifying tragedy, will arouse a greater amount of empathy than pure disgust. The eyes have it: You will not see a more unsettling movie at Fantasia than THE EYES OF MY MOTHER.

— Tony Timpone