“female dog of red”: a whole life on the red thread of blood

It is one of those films that sows little stones that we want to follow without really knowing where they will lead us. Just because the resonance between the images and the voice-over opens a singular, labyrinthine path, belonging only to one person, whose common thread here is blood: “I woke up one morning with this desire: to film blood. »

This is how the documentary Chienne de rouge begins, the second feature film by Yamina Zoutat ( Retour au Palais , 2017), former judicial columnist for television who followed the tainted blood trial in 1999 – it was one of the biggest health scandals in France, with its share of victims having contracted the AIDS virus after transfusions of contaminated blood. The experience left the director with mixed feelings, right down to the title of the case: “The blood trial, as if the culprit were blood” . she said looking back.

At the time, the young reporter, then aged 29, had received orders from her superiors not to show images of blood in her reports. A taboo that Yamina Zoutat puts in parallel with the profusion of hemoglobin in the history of cinema, from the first genre films to westerns and other action films – the opportunity for the filmmaker to slip into her millefeuille of images of extracts from cult works, Nosferatu the Vampire (1922), by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Wings of Desire (1987), by Wim Wenders…

Visual treasure hunt

In Chienne de rouge , we will only see real blood, except in this hallucinatory sequence, following the 2015 attacks, in which medical students play victims of a terrorist attack, lying on the ground, while others train to intervene in an emergency. A frightening impression of truth emerges from this bloody scene.

Initially, at her birth, Yamina Zoutat had to be completely transfused, her parents’ rhesus being incompatible. A little of his mother’s blood had mixed with his, and was beginning to attack his defenses. The newborn had to be injected with the blood of a stranger. As the filmmaker says, it is neither the blood of her father, who comes from Algeria, nor that of her mother, who is Italian, which flows in her veins. The film pulses from these biological origins to extend to other events, more or less tragic or soothing.

We will therefore follow, pell-mell in this visual treasure hunt, and beyond the flow of menstrual flows, filmed live, a young man transporting blood, traveling aboard his vehicle to deliver on time and on time. saving pockets. But also a professor of medicine specializing in transplants, a woman who comes back to life thanks to a cell donation, or even this little dog who haunts the film, smelling the carpet of damp leaves in a forest.

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