The Bloody Child


A bloody chore at only 85 minutes, Nina Menkes’ insipid 1996 The Bloody Child falls prey to the fatal error that has doomed so many avant-garde films—i.e., it confuses the viewer’s soul-crushing boredom with a profound experience. The Bloody Child is ostensibly about a Gulf War veteran discovered by military police burying his pregnant wife in the desert, but I only picked up that much from reading the DVD liner notes. Incidentally, Menkes also has produced a CD-ROM featuring scenes from all of her movies edited in random order, about which she brags, “You can cut between the films without any sense of disjointedness.” In other words, Menkes makes films that could be cut up and reassembled into any order with no discernible effect. I couldn’t offer a more perfect condemnation than that.