For 23 minutes, Miriam Fussenegger & Isabella Jeschke’s performances leave you in a tough moral dilemma in His Eyes (Blaue Augen). Director Alexander Weber has delivered an absorbing, impactful must watch film.
Cleo’s (Miriam Fussenegger) quest for perfection threatens to derail plans to start a family with her girlfriend Anna (Isabella Jeschke).
It can be a daunting and exciting journey for those of us who want to start a family. Of course, we want our children to be as healthy as possible and for them to go through their lives with no worries about their health. When an illness runs through generations of your family, it can be nerve racking to imagine your own child’s future, with them having those same concerns that run through your mind as you age. So, if the opportunity came to have a child that had no such concerns straight from birth through to death at a grand old age, a child that created to be as perfect as possible, would you make sure it happened?
This is the conundrum that Alexander Weber presents us within the fantastic short His Eyes. Anna is desperate for a child; she wants to have that family and raise the child together with her girlfriend Cleo. But, they both want the child to come from them, not via a sperm donor and just one of them. They want both there genes inside their child, and rightly so, it will after all be their child. When technology matches their dream in this not so distant future, their chance has finally arrived. Anna emotionally persuades the hesitant Cleo to look into it. Unknowingly awakening a beast within her partner, who can only accept that sought after perfection.
For Cleo wants her son to be given the best start in life, so changes to their predetermined facial features and future athletic ability are thrown into this technologically advanced birthing cooking pot. As she rather bluntly states, attractive people have less of a hard time in life, so why not make sure their child is going to turn out as attractive as possible? Meanwhile, Anna just wants to have a child with the woman she loves, a beautiful mixture of them both, someone they can love endlessly. When she discovers that Cleo wants to alter aspects of their future child, she is understandably upset.
Both Fussenegger and Jeschke excel here in His Eyes, you want them to have the baby of their dreams, but at the same time, you are terrified of it tearing them apart. Despite this obvious love between Cleo and Anna, there is a friction that is hard to shake, even when they excitedly play on the bed after coming to their decision to go ahead with the process. Unsureness hovers over them and the film like a dark cloud, switching between characters for various reasons.
Cleo wants to make sure that this isn’t a lab experiment. Anna is concerned about how the company ensures the baby will be guaranteed healthy, removing even more of the traditional aspect of carrying and raising a child. This continues until it comes to one all mighty head at the film’s end. Worst of all, depending on your viewpoint, you can side with both characters, and the conviction in both of the performers has you almost stuck in the middle of their moral dilemma. Leaving you to question what exactly you would do in their situation.
Alexander Weber has made sure that the camera is static for large portions of His Eyes. As a result, we are forced to watch their arguments, intruding on this moment in their lives when we would much rather leave the room. Keeping is at a distance in these moments of angered emotion, the juxtaposition of having a handheld camera when they are closer, more connected allows the audience to feel so much more emotion for the pair. As it is always said, sometimes the most straightforward techniques in filmmaking are usually the most effective.
His Eyes takes away to the not so distant future but keeps us grounded with a question that all parents, be it present or future, ask themselves A great film that deserves your attention.
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