Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Look on! Peru & The Milk of Sorrow

(Look On! takes occasional note of noteworthy productions)
'To speak about experiences associated with extreme violence, the sexual violence, it is not an easy thing. Suffering and fear, lived silently, with shame, “as if it was a fault of one”. It creates a fingerprint that generates other pains associated with the fact of being a woman in a context of arbitrariness and mistreatment. I share the idea that the task of opening spaces, to think, is the only way of facilitating the dialogue on a topic that brings so much pain, and this film was conceived as a search of healing'.
–  Claudia Llosa interview in Filmmaker available here.

La Teta Asustada – released in English as The Milk of Sorrow – is a 2009 film directed by Claudia Llosa (below left). It was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
Set primarily in the outskirts of Lima, Peru, the film infuses magical realism with conventional narrative to tell the story of Fausta (played by Magaly Solier), a young woman from the province Huanta, in the region of Ayacucho. The film begins with her mother singing about the rape and killings in the Quechua language. After her death Fausta must live with her uncle and his family and earn money so that she can bury her mother.
Fausta suffers from a rare disease passed down from the breast milk of her mother. A physical manifestation of transgenerational trauma, the disease is passed on by women who have been raped or abused during the period of state terrorism in Peru, 1980-2000. Between these years, Peru was in a state of conflict, with groups including the Shining Path, state forces, and the group MRTA committing crimes including forced disappearances, torture, kidnappings and rape. According to this UNIFEM report (p. 5) on transitional justice by Julissa Mantilla Falcón, an attorney and law professor in Peru:
'Impunity surrounded these cases and the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission found no evidence of criminal prosecutions against perpetrators of sexual abuses. Moreover, men rarely allows their wives or daughters to report the sexual violence'.
A beautiful movie, in which music plays an integral part.

(Cross-posted at Human Rights Film Diary blog)

1 comment:

Kimberly Theidon said...

Dear Colleagues:

I was delighted to see the Intlawgrrls website promoting the film, La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow). I love the film, which draws upon my first book Entre Prójimos.

I would be most grateful if you could link my new book to the blog: Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru, see: http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15036.html

Thanks so much for drawing attention to these important issues!

Warm wishes,

Kimberly Theidon
John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences
Department of Anthropology
Harvard University