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The Milk of Sorrow (2009)

La teta asustada (original title)
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Fausta is suffering from a rare disease called the Milk of Sorrow, which is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped during or soon after pregnancy. ... See full summary »



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Susi Sánchez ...
Efraín Solís ...
Bárbara Lazón ...
Delci Heredia ...
Karla Heredia ...
Fernando Caycho ...
Miller Revilla Chengay ...
Spencer Salazar ...
Summy Lapa ...
María del Pilar Guerrero ...
Leandro Mostorino ...
Anita Chaquiri ...
Edward Llungo ...
Daniel Núñez ...


Fausta is suffering from a rare disease called the Milk of Sorrow, which is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped during or soon after pregnancy. While living in constant fear and confusion due to this disease, she must face the sudden death of her mother. She chooses to take drastic measures to not follow in her mother's footsteps. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A journey from fear to freedom.


Drama | Music


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Parents Guide:







Release Date:

13 February 2009 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A Teta Assustada  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,914 (USA) (27 August 2010)


$10,376 (USA) (24 September 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The literal translation of the film's original Spanish title is "The Frightened Tit". See more »


Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »


Written by Tomás Rebate
Performed by Los Destellos de Edith Delgado
See more »

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User Reviews

A touch of magic realism
3 October 2010 | by (garbanzo) – See all my reviews

Writer/director Claudia Llosa loosely adapts the premise of old-time classics 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Faust' to contemporary Peru. Fausta, beautifully played by Magaly Solier, is a solitary, indigenous girl whose heart is gripped by fear. Her mother, who we see on her deathbed at the start of the film, was raped and scarred for life by The Shining Path (a radical Maoist organization that terrorized Peru during the 80s and early 90s). According to their indigenous culture, the terror felt by Fausta's mother was passed on to her through breastfeeding, a condition they call 'The Milk of Sorrow' (in Spanish, 'La Teta Asustada', which translates to 'The Frightened Tit'). Fausta is deeply suspicious of people around her, particularly men, and expresses her repressed emotions only through singing, as she performs her daily chores. Desperately in need for money to bury her dead mother, she begins to work as a housekeeper for Aida, a musician who is preparing for a concert and becomes interested in her songs of sorrow.

Llosa observes the social realities of Latin America (post-colonialism, class division, political violence), but avoids providing facile solutions. Instead, she focuses her attention on Fausta's more personal need for spiritual freedom. She does so with quiet, subtle humor and an eye for striking, poetic imagery.

I highly recommend watching this Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the Berlin International Film Festival.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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