USA, 2016 (MIFF 2016, Night Shift)
Director: Nicolas Pesce
"A beautiful Leatherface for the hipster generation." – Rolling Stone
Backed by Borderline Films (the stable behind MIFF 2016's Christine, MIFF 2015's James White and MIFF 2011's Martha Marcy May Marlene), music video prodigy Nicolas Pesce carves his name indelibly into the psyche of audiences with one of the most memorable horror films in a very long time. Pesce and cinematographer Zack Kuperstein chart the stunning descent of a young woman into violence (a breakout performance by Kika Magalhaes) after she witnesses the murder of her mother.
A film told in mesmeric black and white, The Eyes of My Mother bucks horror tropes to create what could be considered a new style of American Gothic, the spiritual lovechild of Charles Laughton and The Night of the Hunter. The surprises don't come in story twists but through the prodding of imagination and jagged, sometimes brutal, editing.
Magnificently horrific, The Eyes of My Mother proves there is immense beauty to be found in ugliness. The mellifluous wails of Portuguese fado singer Amalia Rodrigues are the sensory balm in what is a deliciously gorgeous nightmare that simultaneously seduces and abhors in the space of one shot.
"Though filled with grisly, grotesque images, this is a film that doesn't shock you with cheap scares; rather, it claws into your subconscious and lingers there." – Vulture