A lot of reviewers have said Eyes of My Mother (2016) has elements of torture porn. Now I HATE torture porn, but I loved this film.
What gives? Well, torture porn has two key aspects - first mutilation of the body, and second, taking pleasure in mutilating the body. I'm not sure Eyes of My Mother really qualifies.
It's set on a remote US farmhouse where a Portuguese immigrant family lives quietly (or are they exiled? They certainly have the wary quality of people who have experienced trauma). The mother is a former surgeon and teaches her daughter to dissect eyes.When their lives are shattered by a violent tragedy, things take a very strange turn and a number of horrific acts are committed, albeit off-screen.
But I don't think the perpetrator takes any pleasure in these acts - she's childlike, almost infantile, she doesn't actually understand what she's doing.
Eyes of My Mother did push me out of my comfort zone - it was so disturbing I had pause it and look up the rest of the plot on Wikipedia to check I wasn't going to regret watching it. That's never happened before.
But I loved the sense of this calcified Portuguese timewarp in the middle of the US, this old, sad energy of an immigrant past that's never really been left behind.
Some reviews say the ending was disappointing, but I thought it was incredible. It conveyed beautifully the inevitability of the lead character's behaviour, like the return of a musical fate motif at the climax of an opera.
Yes, opera. Poetry too. There was all kinds of high art in this horror film. All bad and old and no good, but absolutely stunning.