She’d happily talk about sex or childbirth, and even about poo. But not about periods. Why not? The 40-year-old filmmaker Rachel Judkins from New Zealand has menstruated more than 300 times, but she’s still a bit weird about it. To finally ditch her own period cringe, Judkins – ‘It’s about bloody time I got over it!’ – explores the silence about periods in a very personal way.
Personal, honest and very relatable
The result: About Bloody Time! A short documentary that’s funny, a bit quirky, and above all, very honest. Judkins, who suffers from heavy and painful periods, shows the monthly hormonal rollercoaster every woman can relate to. She doesn’t hold back in the movie, including scenes from her own home. There’s the kids banging on the bathroom door while you’re trying to properly fold your menstrual cup (Not now!), the emotional crying spells and the ‘I hate my husband’-phase. Plus the feeling of wanting a hug from your partner, but being too afraid to ask for one because you feel sad and vulnerable and gross – all captured in only 8 minutes.
From shared silent anxiety to making glitter tampons together
About bloody time! is also a story about mothers and daughters. Because how can Judkins give her 10-year-old daughter a positive period experience when she herself is all hung-up on it? Together with her own mother, the filmmaker looks back at old photographs and realises that at the time they both feared the same thing: a red leakage stain on her white high school uniform. However, they never talked about it. Logical, seeing as that was the actual message Judkins’ mother got from her mum in her teenage years: ‘It’s something we don’t talk about’. Judkins aims to do things differently. Hence why she holds a period party for her 40th birthday and finds herself explaining to her kids why there’s a string attached to the tampons they dip in red glitter.
‘Broken: vagina closed for business’
Apart from blowing up red balloons and baking red cakes, the filmmaker also finally starts talking about menstruation with her husband. A subject previously unmentioned in their relationship. Judkins: ‘The one thing we don’t talk about is periods. Instead we call it broken. Like I’m some kind of sexbot whose vagina is closed for business.’ She opens up to her husband Pete, who turns out to be fine with all this period talk. Despite the fact that in an earlier conversation he stated: ‘It’s like if someone has really bad diarrhoea … you don’t go around talking about it’. Well, now you do. Definitely after seeing this film. Ladies, watch it, break the silence and start a conversation. Because it’s about bloody time!
About Bloody Time! is directed by Rachel Judkins and produced by Linda Hughes. It’s now available to view online as part of the Loading Docs “REVOLUTION” series. Just click on the image below.