The Milk of Sorrow

(La Teta Asustada) (2009)








La Teta Asustada (English: The Milk of Sorrow) is a 2009 film by Peruvian director Claudia Llosa. The film stars Magaly Solier, and addresses the fears of abused women during Peru''s recent history. It won the 2009 Golden Bear award and FIPRESCI prize in that Festival, as well as the award for best movie in the 24 Festival Internacional de Cine de Guadalajara in Mexico. It has recently been nominated for the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign

Between 1980 and 1992 Peru experienced a period of very hard violence, particularly in the Andean region, because of the uprising of the Maoist group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the actions of the paramilitary and state armed forces. By 1990 the conflict finally reached Lima, the capital city of Peru. Claudia Llosa refers in her film to the folk belief that the trauma experienced by women who were raped by members of security force was passed on to their children through the milk from their breasts. Thus, this period of violence continues to affect not only those who experienced it, but also the next generation. The film is based on the book Entre Prójimos by Kimberly Theidon, Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and Director of Praxis, Institute for Social Justice.[1][2] Llosa''s work is a psychological as well as sociological approach to the 12 years of conflict, and is critical of the mass rapes used by the army as a strategy of war. In her book, Theidon documents a number of testimonies from women who were raped by as many as thirty men at a time, atrocities that often times resulted in pregnancies. Theidon states that "when survivors of sexual violence speak about their experiences, they place a responsibility on their listeners to respond to what they have heard."[3] Llosa''s film, too, is an attempt to respond to such testimonies.

Theidon''s book will soon be available in English from Stanford University Press. The title is Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru.





Awards:Nominated for Oscar. Another 11 wins & 1 nomination
Academy Awards, USA
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2010 Nominated Oscar Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Berlin International Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won FIPRESCI Prize Competition
Claudia Llosa
Golden Berlin Bear Claudia Llosa
Goya Awards
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2010 Nominated Goya Best Spanish Language Foreign Film (Mejor Película Hispanoamericana)
Claudia Llosa
Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won Mayahuel Award Best Actress
Magaly Solier
Best Film
Claudia Llosa
Havana Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won Best Art Direction Susana Torres
Patricia Bueno
Grand Coral - First Prize Claudia Llosa
Lima Latin American Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won Best Actress Magaly Solier
Best Peruan Film Claudia Llosa
CONACINE Award Claudia Llosa
Montréal Festival of New Cinema
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won Acting Award Best Actress
Magaly Solier
Quebec Film Critics Award Best Film
Claudia Llosa

Fausta is ill with a disease contracted from her mother’s breast milk known as “the milk of sorrow”. However, this is not a sickness caused by bacteria or infection: it is a condition that only affects those women in Peru who were abused or raped during the years of terrorist struggle. Although this horrific period is now history, Fausta is nonetheless a living reminder of this time. Her sickness is called fear – and it has robbed her of her soul. But then, when her mother suddenly dies, Fausta is forced to face her fears. The overpowering nature of these fears, and the desperate lengths to which Fausta will go to assuage them is revealed by her biggest
secret: in order to bar loathsome intruders from entering her body she has inserted a potato into her vagina as a kind of antibacterial ‘defence shield’. However, her mother’s death unleashes unexpected events that change Fausta’s life dramatically, as well as the lives of others involved. Fausta now sets out on a journey – a journey that will lead her out of her fear and into freedom. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s film addresses a dark era of her country’s history. Established in 2001, the Peruvian ‘commission for truth and reconciliation’ (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, CVR) has registered almost 70,000 murder cases, as well as countless rapes, abductions and other human rights abuses in the period from 1980 to the year 2000.

Fausta (Magaly Solier) padece de "La teta asustada", una enfermedad que se transmite por la leche materna de mujeres maltratadas durante la época del terrorismo en el Perú. Los infectados nacen sin alma, porque del susto se escondió en la tierra, y cargan un terror atávico que les aísla por completo. Pero Fausta esconde algo más; guarda un secreto que no quiere revelar, hasta que la súbita muerte de su madre desencadenará hechos inesperados que transformarán su vida y la de otros.