Posted by: Ali | February 8, 2010

Movie: La Teta Asustada

La Teta Asustada [The Milk of Sorrow], 2009, directed by Claudia Llosa; originally in Spanish

La Teta Asustada, or The Milk of Sorrow, which is its English title, is one of the five nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Picture.  Since I know many people who will be watching the Oscars, I thought I’d put in my 5 cents on the only one of the movies that I will see: the Peruvian one.

La Teta Asustada is a story, really, about a potato.  It is a very strange story that follows a girl, Fausta, who was born during the time of terrorism in Peru.  Her mother, who was a victim of rape, supposedly passed on her fear to her daughter through her breast milk, and so Fausta, now a young adult, is more than a little bit strange.  Her mother dies at the beginning of the movie, and Fausta is forced to move from her village to the strange big city of Lima to live with her uncle.  Fausta must cope with being alone in the world while trying to earn enough money to take her mother’s body back to the village to be laid to rest.

The movie, as I said before, is a bit strange.  It is a bit surreal, depicting several of the characters as heavily superstitious, such as the woman who believes that if she buries her doll the earth will take it away and she will never have to see it again.  The movie is also very good at portraying contrasts: the dirt home where Fausta lives versus the Big House full of opulence where she works; having a dead body stashed under the bed so it is out of view for a wedding; the crazy superstitious beliefs versus the doctor’s logic.

Although the movie is slow and you might be inclined to say that nothing really happens in it, it does give a good depiction of a slice of life in Lima, showing class differences, death, life, marriage, poverty, and rural versus urban life, albeit set among very peculiar circumstances.


  1. […] What I learned today was that The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada), the Oscar-nominated Peruvian film, was filmed in Manchay, a poor shantytown on […]


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