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The Machine That Kills Bad People: ALTIPLANO + The Bloody Child
Institute of Contemporary Arts
A crescent moon hanging downwards reflects over a bright orange desert
ALTIPLANO, dir. Malena Szlam, 2018, 35mm, 15 min. 30 sec.

Nina Menkes’s The Bloody Child (1996) was inspired by the true story of a Gulf War veteran in California who killed his pregnant wife and was found by fellow marines while digging her grave in the desert. From this narrative fragment, Menkes crafts a formally daring and entrancing film about gendered violence and feminine haunting. This screening is the UK premiere of a new restoration of this essential work of 1990s US independent cinema.

ALTIPLANO (2018) by Montreal-based Chilean filmmaker Malena Szlam accentuates the otherworldliness of the Atacama Desert through the use of superimposition, flicker and pixelation techniques, fusing night with day, sun with moon, earth with sky. A vast plateau in the Andean mountains dominated by active volcanoes, the region has been intensively mined for its nitrate reserves, displacing many communities.

A specially commissioned essay by Alice Blackhurst accompanies the screening.

Part of the ICA 75th Anniversary Season

ALTIPLANO, dir. Malena Szlam, Chile 2018, 35mm, 15 min. 30 sec.

The Bloody Child, dir. Nina Menkes, United States 1996, DCP, 86 min.
The Machine That Kills Bad People is, of course, the cinema – a medium that is so often and so visibly in service of a crushing status quo but which, in the right hands, is a fatal instrument of beauty, contestation, wonder, politics, poetry, new visions, testimonies, histories, dreams. It is also a film club devoted to showing work – ‘mainstream’ and experimental, known and unknown, historical and contemporary – that takes up this task. The group borrowed their name from the Roberto Rossellini film of the same title, and find inspiration in the eclectic juxtapositions of Amos Vogel’s groundbreaking New York film society Cinema 16.

The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers.

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

Red Members gain unlimited access to all exhibitions, films, talks, performances and Cinema 3.
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Essay by Alice Blackhurst