I Miei Occhi (My Eyes)
Nov 14, 2022
João Farina, Kseniya Rappoport
I Miei Occhi (My Eyes) is an Italian-language film where a woman offers a street performer home and the journey proves to be a life-changing experience. Situated in the single scene in the woman’s car, director Tommaso Acquarone ensures that this is a short film jam-packed full of surprises. Deeply intriguing and emotionally raw, their motivations cannot be placed, but it is clear that they connect over their conversation as they drift through life. Their curiously friendly dynamic certainly creates the backbone of the film and it may be simple in terms of plot, but it is definitely very complicated in terms of execution.
Driving around as if she is searching for something, the woman is emotionally vulnerable through her silence and her facial expressions. Nothing is revealed about her except that she seems stressed and is avoiding phone calls. It begs the question what is she escaping from? Throughout the short, it slowly becomes clearer and elements of her life are slowly revealed – but only subtly, so they have the potential to be missed if the audience is not concentrating. Acquarone’s considerations of the scene are brilliantly authentic and do not miss a trick.
The woman tries to interact multiple times with the street performer, at first appearing to just be nice to him. However, when she deliberately seeks him out and offers him a lift in her car, her motivations to helping him are curious. Do they know each other, or have they just met? Her lack of consideration for herself is alarming at times, but even more interesting as the film progresses. As day fades into night, the woman becomes more vulnerable as there is a lot unspoken between her and the street performer. It is clear that they are very different and suddenly, the wind changes and creates a very unexpected result. It is shocking and saddening of equal measure and a powerfully real film is created as a result.
Action takes place mostly in the woman’s car with a beautiful coastal landscape on a rainy, breezy day. However, their surroundings are just out of reach as the camera does not give them any attention, making the dialogue between both characters more consuming. Camera shots are up-close and personal and feel all-consuming as the woman drives around. It is as though we exist purely in her world inside the car as we purely focus on her actions. Filmmaking is aesthetic and beautiful and very considerate of the two characters, as they are filmed from behind so as to not have us look at their faces head-on. It feels as though the viewer is sat in the back of the car watching as a silent witness to the conversation, making it feel more over-powering.
Sounds of the car propel the viewer into the car to experience every deliberate moment of this short film. Mobile phone aside, it has a timeless feel as though it could be set in any time period. With the score being the car radio in the background, it feels very simple and realistic. As darker thematic elements emerge towards the end, there are many confusing and heart-breaking moments and emotions to consider that are heart-breaking for the lone woman in the car. Suddenly, it is as though you could watch the entire twenty minutes again in a completely different way.
I Miei Occhi is surprisingly engaging and keeps viewers hooked the entire way through, as they seek to understand who they are riding in the car with. It is a deeply emotive and mysterious watch and Acquarone does well to keep the frustrations and fears of both characters at the forefront.