Written & Directed By: Nicolas Pesce
Cinematography By: Zach Kuperstein
Editor: Connor Sullivan & Nicolas Pesce
Cast: Kiki Magalhaes, Clara Wong, Will Brill, Flora Diaz
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.
I have to say this is one of the most beautifully shot films I have seen all year. It is breathtaking as everything is filmed and presented in it’s black and white photography.
The black and white photography gives the films a feeling of being a fable or fantasy. Timeless while actually giving us a dose of reality. Enough to realize this is not necessarily only a movie.
It especially becomes noticeable As we are constantly shown how remote yet picturesque the surroundings are.
The film let’s itself be revealing not necessarily telling us or showing us everything. So when things happen they come off more as a surprise.
At this point I will say this is a movie you need to see without knowing too much going into the film. So I would suggest if you haven’t seen it stop reading the review here and just watch it then come back. As some of the film is about to be spoiled.
The film is more of a thriller than a horror film. As it is more frantic and while it does have death and violence doesn’t seem to revel in it nor does it choose to show much of it. More the aftermath.
The film Keeps the tension flowing throughout so that it stays unpredictable.
The film and camera always seems at a distance. So that the audience can watch from a distance and in safety. It doesn’t have actions or experiences thrown in our face. So we don’t feel as much part of the actions. So that when we do see the aftermath we are shocked at what has happened by seeing the after and letting our imaginations run wild as to how it got there.
Leaving the film all the more Gruesome if you think about it. Most of the violence is offscreen. So the film doesn’t Bathe in Gore but still manages to make you believe it is graphic
Definitely impressive for a first film Nicolas Pesce is one to watch as he is sure of the story he wants to tell and knows how to deliver it expertly especially visually. As this feels more like the work of an auteur. The film involves a Strange family that seems to go through the generations. While also being peaked from the initial element at the beginning. As maybe her mother was what kept her sane and losing her was like losing her way and since losing her at such a young age. She doesn’t necessarily know any better and there was no one to teach her vital lessons. Though as closed off as the family already seemed. There was going to be some bizarreness. Maybe not necessarily homocidal though.
The scenes are filmed almost like a giallo tale only smaller scale and without the mystery. Though hold room for plenty surprises. The film feels cinematic and lyrical at the same time. even though very little dialogue is spoken
It has an ambiguous ending though pretty much cut and dry it is a tale of madness, solitary loneliness and the madness it. Which Rings especially out of guilt. The film is short yet feels perfectly timed.
The film seems to have her be more a character of her environment. Where as when the salesman comes and kills her mom at random. Once her father chains him up. It is almost like the salesman’s sickness has invaded her and is infesting the holes of her psyche building itself on her own problems. So that she manages to get what she want by taking it with no scruples about how she gets it. It is born out of loneliness. Living with her father who seems in emotional and matter of fact and seems to make her perform all the wifely duties. We never know to what extent as the film strangely stays away from anything sexual. Though does include plenty of seduction.
So while at first her actions seem more weird. It seems like a cruel justice for the salesman, but it seems everyone after that is more a victim of her circumstance. Giving some a more cruel fate than other victims.
In essence she isn’t afraid to kill but tends to seduce with her nice and innocent nature. As she never wants to be alone she tends to make those attracted to her. Her new companions taking what she wants. Until it is time for a new friend. She treats people almost like livestock as companions she must protect as she gets what she wants from them, but once she doesn’t need them. She pretty much harvests them.
The film with it’s Lack of much dialogue makes any spoken seem that much more important. Which also like most quiet and silent movies opens the film up more to interpretation.