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film review

Kika Magalhaes stars in The Eyes of My Mother.

A little horror is good for the holidays. Or so must be the thinking of counterprogramming Nicolas Pesce's pitch-dark study of pain and torture in these mid-December days.

An extraordinarily bleak look at one rural woman's obsession with suffering over the course of her awful lifetime, The Eyes of My Mother is not for the easily queasy. It is a stark, dreadful vision – but one that is fascinatingly executed, with a compelling central performance from Kika Magalhaes as a matter-of-fact monster.

First-time filmmaker Pesce is undoubtedly "working through some things" here, but whenever the film threatens to stumble into an art-school parody of torture porn, the director twists off in a new direction, albeit a horrifying one.