94 minutes| Peru-Spain| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

A major new cinematic voice from Latin America, Peruvian director Claudia Llosa here turns daunting subject matter into exquisitely visualised modern fable, and her saga of female forbearance has already taken the top prize at Berlin and been Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Film. Although the Shining Path guerrilla movement isn’t mentioned by name, the atrocities committed during their ’90s reign of terror in Peru loom over this story, in which shy heroine Fausta (the remarkable Magaly Solier) is supposedly tainted by her mother having been raped by the insurgents – hence ‘the milk of sorrow’. Fausta’s efforts at escaping the shadow of the past obviously carry significant symbolic weight, but the series of flamboyant family weddings punctuating her tentative emotional progress demonstrate that Peruvians are a resourceful and resilient people. Marked by swathes of electrifying colour, masterly compositions and thought-provoking, allusive storytelling, this is a personal cinema which beguiles and intrigues as it captures the soul of a troubled nation. (Notes by Trevor Johnston)

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