Magnet has released The Eyes of My Mother on Blu-ray. This is a 2016 black and white dramatic horror film from Magnolia Pictures. Does this release have what it takes to earn a spot in your horror rotation? Read on to find out!
I sort of go against the grain when it comes to marketing of films. I typically don’t watch any trailers or read the back of the movie box. This is important so that I have as few preconceptions of the film as possible and let it just tell me the story that it wants to.
So even though I saw the slip cover was in black and white I had no idea the actual film was in black and white. Not that it is a negative because I enjoy quite a few films and television series from the era where that was all that was available. I think it sets a particular mood for the film and puts you in the mindset the director requires for the setting.
The film is from first time writer/director Nicolas Pesce. I did not recognize anyone in the cast although your experience may vary. The top billed actress on IMDB is Diana Agostini. She is apparently most known for her role as “Woman with Child at Street Fair” in the Godfather: Part III. So it is pretty easy to buy into the actors playing their respective characters because you aren’t recognizing them from other things or feel like you already know what kind of role they will play in the film.
The Eyes of My Mother is a hard film to talk about without spoiling anything, since it is a character based journey. It’s part psychological horror, part family drama and part Gothic fiction. The film takes place mostly on a farm in an nondescript place during a contemporary time period. It focuses on Francisca, a little girl living with her parents and what happens to her as she grows up. The director is purposefully vague about quite a few things which allows for the viewer to fill in gaps and think about what could have happened.
One thing that sort of bothered me about the film is the yellow subtitles during the Portuguese language. I found it pretty distracting during the stark black and white scenes to have bright yellow letters pop up all throughout the film. It might not bother you at all but I thought it was worth mentioning. English is the main language of the film but all throughout the movie it pops up for a couple of lines.
The Eyes of My Mother is filmed well. The picture quality is what you would expect from a modern digital film. The Internet Movie Database mentions it was filmed with Red Epic Dragon cameras. Because of this, the film isn’t going to look exactly like the classic masters of black and white cinema, since they actually produced chemically on film, but it is still a quality transfer. The sound is sparse and barren but clear. Practically everything is front loaded to the speakers so even though there is a nice lossless DTS Master there isn’t much to listen to. English subtitles are included (and are white unlike the Portuguese titles).
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Interview with Director Nicholas Pesce (13 minutes) – Interesting interview talking about the thought process behind the film, the type of audience the film will attract, and some personal anecdotes.
The Eyes of My Mother Final Thoughts:
The movie is character driven but it feels more like a conceptual attempt rather than an actual complex persona. I found the film itself interesting but not necessarily groundbreaking or original. There are some logical gaps and some questionable decisions, but I do applaud the director’s efforts to bring classic cinema to fresh eyes. The hope is that more people go down the rabbit hole of watching William Castle films or Night of the Hunter because of films like this. For being a first feature I am looking forward to other movies by Nicholas Pesce in the future.
If you enjoy Gothic tales or darker characters you will find a lot of that here. The film has a specific audience that will really get into the feel of the movie. If you don’t fall into that type of movie then I think you will be disappointed and not appreciate what is on offer here. The director even admits that in every screening someone has gotten up and left. He considers that a compliment. If you feel like that is your thing you can buy it here on Amazon.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.