The movie won the Berlin film festival’s top Golden Bear award
The Milk of Sorrow is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped during Peru’s decades of civil strife. Though not officially identified by medical science, people believe that Peruvians suffering from the disease live in constant psychic trauma.
Fausta(Magaly Solier) is the heroine of “The Milk of Sorrow” directed by Claudia Llosa and she has the disease. Her mother has just died, leaving Fausta with a deathbed song of rape and violence. To defend herself against similar assaults, Fausta has placed a potato in her vagina. The potato grows, and its buds pierce her body and threaten her health. Still, she thinks the physical pain pales in comparison to the consequences of sexual violence.
To pay for her mother’s funeral, Fausta becomes the housemaid of a bad-tempered pianist.
Fausta is constantly in fear of men. Throughout the movie, her eyes are filled with anxiety. She tries hard not to encounter men. She barely talks to men. But when she has to, she speaks bluntly and in strong words. She also fears walking alone. She feels relieved only when she sings in the Quechua language or when her mother is around.
The movie is based on a true story and it shows how the distress of sexual violence victims is passed down to the next generations. Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that so many female natives were raped by the government and guerrilla forces over the last two decades.
The movie beautifully framed the pain and sorrow of the victims. It was awarded the Golden Bear at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. Also, it earned the 38th Association Québécoise des Critiques de Cinema (AQCC) best international film award.