a film that i found very challenging on many levels. The Bloody Child is structured to show a horrific event in reverse, and where the main character's subconscious / inner psyche is paralleled within the film to reveal an interior, greater, non verbal truth. this is true filmmaking that expands the visual vocabulary..
'But Lot's wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.' Menkes' '96 experimental work is the kind of film that made some question the use of public money in funding 'art'. A strange non-linear work somewhat telling the tale of a soldier found burying his girlfriend in the desert and being held for investigation. Low budget production values offering little to recommend compared to the director's oeuvre.
Menkes demonstrates a profound control of her material here. The Bloody Child is a thing of layers and folds. Primarily it is an interrogation of an event, the sociocultural contexts that make the event intelligible, and of film form itself. The disembodied voice of one presumably dead becomes our voice, and as such we are framed collectively as a singular victim of the phallic order. I have seen nothing like it.
Nina Menkes has questions that plague and upset her, and her artistic visualizations of those questions serve a purpose even if the answers remain elusive. Her juxtaposition of banality and brutality can lull you into thinking you know where she's going, but this loaded-gun of a film isn't about to settle for comforting platitudes, not even the one that says women must be pacifist by nature because they give birth.
Woke up in the night, Trump just won the election the day before, thought of watching something deep and political, but ended up in this deconstructed tale that lasts almost 90 minutes, when it could have lasted 5. If it is so hard to find, maybe there is some good reason.
Fragmented into pieces and then presented as a random narrative. The collection of acts builds an atmosphere of inhumanity once it mixture a grotesque psycho crime, tough military mindset, images from Sudan. I really appreciate the intertwined voices during the bathtub interview scene. That scene had a strong touch at the message proposed by the film as it portraits numbness towards the criminal circumstances.
Great film, but audio and video quality of this digital copy are downright abhorrent. Same with Queen of Diamonds, sadly. I am glad to say that two other Menkes films on MUBI, Phantom Love and Sadness of Zohara, have much better transfers, and are definitely worth watching.
Now I'm just hoping that her latest film Dissolution will be avaible on MUBI eventually.