This Peruvian Filmmaker Wants to Put a Magical-Realist Spotlight on a Subject Rarely Explored in Movies: Menstruation

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From awards bodies to production companies, the major players in the film industry have proven time and again their belief that the best investments are in low-risk, male-dominated projects. It can be frustrating for those of us that welcome challenging subject matter and visual experimentation in art to see so many mediocre projects and reboots come into being, but that’s not to say a thriving independent film community doesn’t exist ready to tell stories about people and experiences alienated by the mainstream.

The upcoming feature film Tenebris Vulnus is a rejection of this tired hegemony in filmmaking. Written and directed by Peruvian multidisciplinary artist Anais Blondet Medina, Tenebris Vulnus is a feminist docufiction made in collaboration with the indigenous community of Cocachimba, situated in the Amazonian highlands of Peru. An exploration of sexuality and stigma, the film will follow a woman struggling to compose her magnum opus while tormented by a never-ending period. When Western medicine fails her, she travels to Peru in search of an alternative cure, setting in motion the film’s interest in responsible cultural exchange and the legacy of colonialism.

As of today, the team behind Tenebris Vulnus is twenty-five percent of the way to its goal of raising $40,000 for its first shoot in Chachapoyas, Peru. Blondet and company are determined to stick to their anti-exploitative agenda and avant-garde artistic vision, meaning funding from traditional resources will be harder to come by. In line with the project’s emphasis on community-building, the cast and crew are currently seeking support from allies and fellow art lovers through a crowdfunding campaign. The money will directly go towards transportation costs, equipment rentals, and crew salaries. There are of course many different price levels of menstruation-themed perks, including a PMS playlist and a CD from the film’s composer, as well as original “tampon paintings” created by director Blondet herself!

Spearheaded by an impressive team of Latino creators and film professionals, Tenebris Vulnus is a unique project in our current landscape that’s worthy of our attention. There aren’t many feature-length films that could be described as about menstruation– a middle finger to the period-shaming patriarchy is just one of many incentives to help make this ambitious film come to fruition!