La Teta Asustada/The Milk of Sorrow (2009) - Llosa
Sullen Fausta (luminous Magaly Solier) has the 'milk of sorrow' illness: offsprings of the rape victims during the civil war are said to be borne without souls. So afraid of being violated, she had shoved up a potato in her vagina. After her mother dies, she needs to come up with the money for the funeral (she lives in a shanty town on the hillside of Lima) and to take the body to her old village. She starts working as a maid for a rich pianist who wants her to sing with the promise of pearls.
It's really hard not to compare this to Claudia Llosa's previous effort, Madeinusa. Even though it's far better than most of the films I've seen this year, The Milk of Sorrow was underwhelming. Although it's beautifully photographed, it's not literal enough in that South American literary magical realism way. It boils down to a young girl getting over her fear of the world and finding wisdom in gardening- which isn't too interesting of a subject. For some reason, the 14 yr old heroine in Madeinusa seemed a lot more mature and interesting than Fausta in Sorrow. But don't get me wrong, Solier, with her trembling girlish voice and time-transcending face, is something of an enigma still. This will definitely end up on my top ten list of the year.
Llosa's Madeinusa review