One of the most divisive films at Sundance this year was Nicolas Pesce‘s The Eyes of My Mother, the latest production from Borderline Films, the team behind the uncompromising character studies Martha Marcy May Marlene, Simon Killer, James White, and more. The film follows a woman whose mother was killed, so she takes revenge in unnerving ways. Ahead of screenings at Fantastic Fest and a theatrical release this December, Magnolia Pictures have now released the first trailer.

We said in our review, “On a personal level, I hated this picture with every fiber of my being. Rarely do I slip into the first-person for these reviews, but for this I make an exception. Hopefully, I will forget the memory of seeing this movie and feeling the way I felt while watching it. In a way, this is a testament to its power and, in another way, a recommendation for those looking for a wholly uncomfortable theater-going experience. Ignore the letter grade at the bottom of this review and heed the words above. Pesce gave us a bad dream. I wanted to wake up the entire time.”

Starring Kika Magalhães, Will Brill, Flora Diaz, Paul Nazak, Clara Wong, Diana Agostini, and Olivia Bond, check out the trailer below, as well as a talk with the director.

In their secluded farmhouse, a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a dark form. Shot in crisp black and white, the haunting visual compositions evoke its protagonist’s isolation and illuminate her deeply unbalanced worldview. Genre-inflected, but so strikingly unique as to defy categorization, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s feature debut allows only an elliptical presence in Francisca’s world, guiding our imaginations to follow her into peculiar, secret places.


The Eyes of My Mother opens on December 2.

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