Picture the bold green forests and the grandeur of the mountains in the countryside. The sun glistening off the trees and rivers in the late twilight of the morning. The smooth breeze of the wind carrying a few lonely leaves. Now think of what you hear, imagine the lull chirping of the birds followed by the crackle of falling leaves. All of these sounds and sites mix into a natural work of art and it’s beautiful. Now take the lovely image you have in your head and picture it without color. The green of the forest is now replaced by shades of black, gray, and white. There is no more bright blue sky, only a spread of gray hanging over the world. Then take away the sounds of nature you hear until you can only hear your voice and footsteps. You are trapped in this colorless void with only your sounds, haunting you in an echo. The image you now have is menacing and morbid,it gives off a sense of dread that makes you think that hope and love are just fairytales you’d be told as a child. This is the world that Nicolas Pesce has created in The Eyes of my Mother.
The movie debuted on December 4th, 2016 and is directed by Nicolas Pesce. ‘The Eyes Of My Mother’ stars a number of unknown actors and actresses such as Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, and Paul Nazak. The movie revolves around a young woman named Francisca (Magalhaes) who lives in isolation after suffering plenty of personal tragedies. Due to this, she has been molded into someone dark and magnificent. Though the plot of the movie seems to be very basic and cliche Pesce has given a sense of freshness to the premise, however, the ‘freshness’ is what also leads to the downfall of the film.
The low budget the film has stands out immediately when it opens, however, Pesce and the cast get creative and make the most of it. An example of that is the color scheme. This is one of the few black and white movie made in the last couple of years. The lack of color adds to the movie in a couple of different ways. The color scheme gives off the sense of constant eeriness which draws the audience. It makes simple moments , like Francesca and her father watching TV, creepy. It also enhances times which are meant to horrify the viewers, making them even more sinister.
The film gets creative with the way it uses its horror elements. While many of modern horror movies rely on jump scares, this one does not. Instead, this movie uses a much slower manner of horror. It uses cinematography itself with camera shots of bloody floors and mutilates bodies. The instances which are meant to be terrifying happen slowly, building the suspense. Though the movie does not show too much, leaving the audience to imagine the repulsive details of the event. The combination of the slow motion of certain events and the grotesque camera shots is extremely effective and will likely leave the audience with nightmares for weeks to come.
Though the slow pace works for the aspects of horror, it does not work for the storytelling. There are major issues with the pacing of this movie which holds it back from being great. The story jumps from subplots to subplot erratically without any warning or subtle shift. It takes away from the atmosphere of the film and the moments of impacts in the movie. For instance, the time shift in the beginning of the movie from Francesca as a child to an adult was completely random. One moment she was a child and then the next she’s a fully grown woman. There are a plethora of other instances that this happens. This pacing makes the story hard to follow as the spectators are too confused by the sudden shifts in the story.
In terms of the characters, the majority of the screen time is given to Francesca. This helps the film since she is the most interesting character and portrayed by the best actresses in the movie. Kika Magalhaes gives an outstanding performance and she is able to give her role a great deal of depth, which is not an easy achievement. Francesca is a fairly complex character, she is essentially a person who never learned how to process emotions or how to interact with people. She can switch from a wide array of emotions in seconds or become completely stoic. Magalhaes manages to show all of this in her depiction and make it feel authentic.
Overall I give ‘The Eyes Of My Mother’ a 3.5 / 5. Whilst the acting and the atmosphere of the film was amazing, the editing was horrendous, it made the film very hard to watch at times.
Author: Jaylen Pearson
Editor: Han Angus
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a neuroscience nerd turned Creative Consultant and Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on TikTok or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels. From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.