"Words are the source of misunderstanding" - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Last week AFI Fest held the Los Angeles premiere of Claudia Llosa’s “The Milk of Sorrow.” Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale, the film recounts the story of Fausta (Magaly Solier) who suffers from “the milk of sorrow,” an illness transmitted through mother's milk. It is a form of anxiety which is passed genetically by women who have been violated during the war of terrorism in Peru.
According to Llosa, “the milk of sorrow" is a metaphor for breakdown, an image of Peru as a young woman in pain. It is incarnated in the private pain of Fausta, a furious resilient lady fighting for her honor.
Despite the bleak premise, the film is extremely funny and does not carry any overbearing messages or unnecessary pathos. Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Llosa explores the theme of solitude and sexual awakening in a fictional village. Afraid of being raped, Fausta puts a potato in her vagina and it begins to grow inside of her. She then meets a gardener, an older gentleman who takes her to the hospital to have it removed.
Llosa's work reaches its peak through its combination of Peruvian landscapes and High Renaissance imagery of the female form.