#MUFFApproved: Milk of Sorrow
Milk of Sorrow (2009)
dir. Claudia Llosa
Written by: Claudia Llosa
Starring: Magaly Solier
What happens when you mix the incredible Claudia Llosa with the stirring and powerful Magaly Solier? You get an unbelievable film that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you question emotions you never knew existed. This is indeed a female-loaded cast, production, and film. Please forgive my short descriptions below as they do not do Milk of Sorrow's complexity and intricacies justice.
Milk of Sorrow explores the trauma of guerilla violence in Peru in a stunning visual masterpiece. Fausta (Solier), the female protagonist, travels to a city far away from her rural upbringing for safety. Staying at her uncle’s house, she finds employment as a housekeeper with an elite American pianist in need of inspiration. Fausta’s silent demeanor is often broken by singing in her native tongue (Quechua). The American, enchanted by her voice and beauty, soon adapts her gorgeous tune into a piano concerto, appropriating indigenous culture.
Fausta is an extremely complex character and perfectly suited to Magaly as an actress as she herself experienced the terror of the Shining Path in her own home village.
The title, “milk of sorrow” (la teta asustata), is defined as a mental condition passed down from the mother to her child through breast milk. Having witnessed and suffered through the terrorist attacks, Fausta’s mother has ingrained a fear of rape and violence in her daughter. This fear then pushes Fausta to block her reproductive track with a potato.
What is so powerful about this film is the truth of the material on screen and the power film has to educate the world. Here is why:
Did you know that “about half of Peruvians live in poverty, yet it has long been run by a small elite. But that's beginning to change as Solier and others with indigenous roots move into the cultural and political spotlight”
Claudia Llosa was born in Lima, Peru and Magaly in Huanta, Ayacucho, Peru. One with privilege, the other an indigenous farmer. Not only a talented and beautiful actress, Magaly is a musician and represents a cultural shift in Peru. With Claudia Llosa directing several festival acclaimed films with Magaly in the main role, the duo are a strong and inspiring force to women across the globe.
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