It’s exceedingly rare for a filmmaker to present a deeply disturbed individual on the big screen, one who partakes in all sorts of grotesqueness, whose mind is one of deranged abandon and necrophile-longing, and somehow manages to portray not only what is repulsive, reprehensible and extraordinarily transgressive, but to pertain and touch upon a profound existential beauty. It was the Romantics who found as their creed the idea that often beauty and truth can only be arrived at through the experiencing of terror.
The Eyes of My Mother is therefore something of a Romantic horror masterpiece travelling the same crazy and psychologically frenzied road to enlightenment. Fronted by Kika Magalhaes, which, if there’s any justice in the world, would prove to be a star-making breakout role, The Eyes of My Mother is told in three chapters – Mother, Father, Family – and details the life of a young woman left to her own devices on a farm. Like Michael Apted’s Nell crossed with the notorious life and times of Ed Gein, Francisca (Magalhaes) is neither Keats’s la belle sans merci nor an unsympathetic, one-dimensional monster.
Martyn Conterio | @Cinemartyn