Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – My Mother’s Eyes

FrightFest review – My Mother’s Eyes

First off, this isn’t a Japanese language remake of Nicholas Pesce’s FrightFest selection The Eyes of My Mother (2016) – though it comes as honestly by its title, it’s only slightly in the same sub-genre.  Takeshi Kushida impressed with his Woman of the Photographs, and does so again in this intricate, precise, peculiarly disturbing work … a fusion of cyberpunk gadget and symbotic yet dysfunctional family relationship.  Hitomi (Akane Ono), a single mother, has set aside her own career as a cellist to support her talented daughter Eri (Mone Shitara) – not without rancour on both sides, though they mesh perfectly when they duet.  Hitomi is suffering from progressive vision loss, which strikes her as she’s driving Eri back from a concert … with the result that mother wakes up in hospital blind and daughter paralysed from the neck down.  Hitomi tracks down a scientist Wanibuchu (Shusaku Uchira) who has developed a form of contact lens that not only cures blindness but can trasmit what the wearer sees to a handheld device or a VR headset.  It’s even possible to adjust the brightness of the image.  Hitomi uses this miracle to share her vision with bedbound Eri, and surrenders control of her own life to her daughter – repeating what Eri tells her to say, acting out on Eri’s wishes and impulses.  In parallel, Wanibuchu and his own son Satoshi (Takuma Izumi), who has a history with Eri and the cello, have their own complicated relationship … to the point when it’s tricky to say who exactly is involved with who and how.  Kushida likes stories which allegorise psychological states – body dysmorphia in Woman of the Photographs, and a parent-child trap here – but also manages a DePalma-like psycho-thriller with baroque moments of beautiful bloodshed (the sharp edge of a cellist’s bow stands in for a straight razor) and calmly surreal images of beautiful, strange people melding together in unexpected ways.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.




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