Wednesday, December 16, 2009


In Casino Royale, Mads Mikkelsen, playing the evil villain, Le Chiffre, "weeps blood." This, in addition to what I assume is asthma, makes him appear eviler.

Why does Le Chiffre weep blood? He tells us not to be alarmed(1), that it is only a derangement of his tear duct. Now, the bloody tears thing is a great theatrical trope. When I heard this statement I laughed out loud in the theater. It reminded me of the people with the bleeding eyes from the X Files episodes 'way back in the... 90's?

If you Google "bleeding tears" on Youtube, you will see a newsreel about this kid, Calvino Inman. He seems to have been diagnosed with hemolacria. That's like diagnosing a person who faints as having syncope(2). I find medical "news" broadcasts infuriating generally, for their tone and sensational tactics. There are also a lame commercials buttressing this clip, so watch at your own peril.

Click here for the Youtube file, I'm only the cinematologist and don't
know how to add video to this blog (yes I'm pathetic.)

This condition seems rather benign if this kid has no other underlying health issues. It looks kind of gruesome, but it doesn't seem fatal. The kid doesn't have asthma, and probably isn't evil, either.

When someone says "tear duct" they are often mistakenly thinking of the lacrimal puncta, two holes on the nose side of the eye, in the upper and lower lid by the pink part in the corner (the lacrimal caruncle.)

These holes lead to the superior and inferior lacrimal canals, which join together to form the lacrimal sac, which dumps fluid (tears) leaving the eye, into the nose, via the nasolacrimal duct.

This is why, when you cry, your nose runs. Your true tear ducts are a series of excretory ducts that squirt tears out of the lacrimal gland along the upper, outer, eyelid. Perhaps he is bleeding from here.

These models cry very convincingly, don't you think? They are so sad!
Their performance might be improved with some real blood on their faces,
flowing from their lacrimal glands.

When Le Chiffre tears up blood, these bloody tears would come from the lacrimal glands, seep across the surface of the eye, making everything look rosy, and then exit into the nose via the route described above. If Le Chiffre bleeds from his tear ducts, the blood would also run out his nose, making him look like a sissy, instead of evil. Calvino Inman gets a bloody nose when he bleeds tears, but he still just looks like a cute and bloody kid.

Le Chiffre should go to an optometrist. You can't avoid a machete blade if your depth perception is screwed up from blood in your eyes. I bet the blood would clot on your contact lenses, too.

1. Who is ever alarmed for the bad guy?
2. Hemo- means blood, -lacr- refers to tears, and -ia is a "state of." So Calvino is in a state of bloody tears. I hope he has insurance to pay for that diagnosis. FYI, syncope means fainting.