Blood-Red Relations in and Out of Place: Women's Self-Harm and Supernatural Crime in the Moth Diaries
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Kosonen, Heidi S.
Kosonen, Heidi S., and Pauline Greenhill. "Blood-Red Relations in and Out of Place: Women's Self-Harm and Supernatural Crime in the Moth Diaries." American Review of Canadian Studies 52 (1) (2022): 83-98. DOI: 10.1080/02722011.2022.2028250.
In Canadian filmmaker Mary Harron’s The Moth Diaries (a Canadian/American/Irish co-production), exploring adolescent girls’ friendships and self-harm in a boarding school setting, blood is out of place. It drips from the protagonist’s father’s wrist artery, willingly shed in suicide; involuntarily tarnishes her nightgown as menstrual blood; falls on the school director’s china figurines as nosebleed; and pours in the school library as a vampire-invoked rain. Moth uses blood to manifest the suicide contagion that Rebecca fears she has inherited from her artist father. Blood also signifies her resistance and recovery, enabled by her difficult relationship with her schoolmates, erstwhile best friend Lucy, and vampire Ernessa. Blood functions as a material marker of transition from girls’ childhood relationships that mainstream Anglo-American films often render passive and vulnerable, and marks same-sex attractions of different types of friendship and love. It symbolizes and draws attention to harms and crimes in interpersonal violence, paternal abandonment, and self-damage. Our focus on relationships between so called “blood kin” and the idea of blood relations weaves into our discussion of female agency, woman identification, and queer affinities through Moth’s out-of-place ontologies for blood as not only conventionally abject, but also a sacralized substance and symbol.