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The Cycle of Abuse, Through a Woman's Lens

Author: nycritic
25 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before TE DOY MIS OJOS (TAKE MY EYES), Icíar Bolláin released this twenty-minute short that depicted spousal abuse in the form of a mockumentary. It starts with a creepy children's song that tells the story of a Don Fernando who killed his wife -- that in itself is a red-flag that this won't be a merry walk in the park. We're introduced to husband and wife -- Antonio and Maria del Pilar -- and the escalating violence that literally explodes between them. The reason? Nothing. Violence that stems because the man wants to be in control at all times, and the wife just happens to be an easy target. It could be anything. "Why didn't you answer the phone when I called?" "Why isn't dinner prepared?" "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" These are some of the samples of verbal assault that Antonio uses to incapacitate Maria del Pilar, and when that doesn't work, a fusillade of punches to her body will. Because in these men's psyche, women are objects that they own. They don't have a voice, or a will of their own, and since the Culture has always imposed that Man is the Master of his Domain, Woman is by association, inferior. It doesn't matter that Antonio later goes to a meeting similar to that of AA (where men talk about what leads them to commit atrocious acts of violence against their wives). In this group one man discusses that he's been married to his wife forever. He goes on to say that as long as he can recall he's always used his fists on her because "she aggravates and pushes him to do so" and it's reached a level where nowadays, all she does is sulk and say little. He concludes his story by saying he doesn't care whether she loves him or hates him. By the end of the short, Antonio has been abandoned; his wife is gone, and the cycle of abuse continues. Luis Tosar as Antonio is explosive and repulsive and his features only enhance the fact that Antonio is a man who cannot control his own anger which is brought on by his own insecurity and no amount of therapy will be able to compensate for the amount of physical, emotional, and mental violence that they are capable of. The fact that a woman of all people has been able to bring forth a such a dark, painful story just shows that women nowadays aren't willing to sit back in silence. As hateful as the men are here, they are an ugly part of mankind's smallest part of society which is the family, and thus, this movie should be seen as a screaming snapshot.

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