It’s been a good, long while since a film stuck with me the way that The Eyes of My Mother has possessed my mind since my initial viewing of it two days ago. Dark, haunting and chilling yet such a beautiful, stylish film. The film’s beauty is almost over-run by its brutal subject matter but it’s done so well that it all just…works.
A child named Francisca plays outside as a stranger approaches. Francisca’s mother makes her way outside to investigate and the stranger asks if he can go into the house to use the bathroom. We can all tell that this is going to end poorly but she allows him into the house anyway. Next we see Francisca sitting at the kitchen table as her father comes home. Alas, he is too late and her mother is dead but the killer is also wounded.
The father and Francisca bury the mother in the yard and chain the wounded killer in the barn (because, why not, right?). It is at this point that we begin to see that Francisca is not quite right. The chained killer asks Francisca if she is going to kill him to which her reply is, “why would I? You’re my only friend.”
Has the trauma that Francisca has faced driven her insane or was she always “off”? I can’t say for sure and I don’t think that writer/director Nicolas Pesce meant for us to know the answer to that question. What Pesce wants from us, I believe, is to watch this girls life unfold, for better or for worse (it’s worse). We watch the child turn into a woman but only in the flesh; her mind stays child-like and we’re never exactly sure if she quite understands that what she does is wrong.
In one scene Francisca’s mother says to her, “loneliness can do strange things to the mind.”