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La teta asustada
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Milk of Sorrow More at IMDbPro »La teta asustada (original title)

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43 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

A Movie full of Rhythm, Intimacy and Fear

Author: intravenosa from Germany
17 February 2009

Our heroine is called Fausta, a girl who is full of fear. "The Milk of Sorrow" or, more exactly "The Frightened Tit" is, in the Peruvian-indigenous tradition, an illness, is being condemned to be a coward. Peru's late History was influenced by guerrilla's warfare and state brutality. Women (like Fausta's mother) were raped, and raped women got sick... of fear. through her mother's milk Fausta is afraid of life, but she is by no mean a coward, because after her mother dies, her struggle is by herself. This movie is beautiful, it combines a very, very strong performance from Magaly Solier, and a universal human struggle in a very typical Latin American city.

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38 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

After the war, the fear

Author: gardieca ( from Spain
16 February 2009

Winner of the first award at the Berlinale, La teta asustada is the second film made by Claudia Llosa, director of the brilliant and exotic Madeinusa. The movie shows an interesting picture of a village in Peru, the life of a family, the things they do to earn a living, and the fears of Fausta, a girl whose mother taught her the power of songs to send away tears.Fausta keeps a secret, and she wants no one to discover it. Meanwhile, he tries to save money to make a wish come true.Magaly Solier plays a gorgeous role, like she did in Madeinusa, and makes us share her feelings through her eyes and her voice. Besides, the film shows the customs of a family and the way every member helps doing his best with a smile. Don't miss it.

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30 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece by Claudia Llosa

Author: dg-op from Los Girasoles, Chaclacayo, Lima, Perú.
7 March 2010

Young director Claudia Llosa (Madeinusa) has won the Golden Bear and a dozen of other prizes around the world for her second work, The frightened tit, its original Spanish tittle.

Though the plot itself may seem awkward, the movie is a group of 95 minutes rich and beautiful images. The pearls, the potato, the dog, the wedding, the impoverished suburban Lima, everything is accurately directed and carefully thought by Ms. Llosa.

Fausta (outstanding Magaly Solier) is suffering from The frightened tit, an illness that she caught through her mother's breast-milk since her pregnancy happened during the 1980s and 90s terrorism and State violence in the Andes. Now in Lima, Fausta is afraid, she's put a potato in her vagina in order to protect her from being raped, and after her mother dies she finally has to deal with the real life and face her fears,starting to work in a high- class house as a made.

The plot of the movie is fictitious, but it lies on a cruel and past reality of Peru's modern history, combining it with a delicate halo of surrealism, magic realism and sometimes ironic humor. The image of the potato -all time Peruvian ingredient for cuisine- involves the subject of a war and a fear that affected an entire country, though our differences may not accept it yet. The scenes in Fausta's home are the opposite where she works: though the high-class house is in the same impoverished area (another reference to Peruvian social differences), over there is no gray, no dust: there are plants, color, life.

At the end, Fausta realizes that in the root of her fears is the solution of them. The movie, indeed, is presented as a cure for the unhealed wounds of a terrible and recent war that happened on Peruvian soil.

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43 out of 75 people found the following review useful:

Hollywood, Bollywood, Globbywood

Author: Pitumisio from Barcelona, Spain
17 February 2009

A realistic portrayal of the impoverished suburbia of Lima, Peru is the frame-set for this fantastic story. Fausta, daughter of a woman raped by terrorists some 25 years ago, assists her mother's death and decides to take her remains back to her hometown, in the high Andes. But, apart from having to work hard to collect the money she needs for it, Fausta has a reason, deep inside, that prevents her from enjoying life or accepting her outstanding physical beauty as a normal girl.

Mastery at low-budget cinematic skill should be credited to Bollywood (the Mumbai-based Hindi language film industry) films, which may not be the most groundbreaking in technical or screen writing terms, but contain music in the form of song-and-dance numbers woven into the script in order to appeal to all segments of the audience and maximise box office receipts. Since Hollywood's multi-million budgets would never have helped shoot realistic and colourful, but rough Brazilian imagery, 'Central Station' (1998) and 'Cidade de Deus' (2002) garnered indisputable acclaim at renowned film festivals after being funded on their own. The example set by off-Hollywood movie makers' efforts have become heroic in countries where movie industry budgets are, to say the least, scarce.

This is the case for LTA. It could have been more on par to Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire' if it wasn't for the Peruvian-Spanish meagre budget available to Peruvian young director Claudia Llosa. If you expect to see acting beaus or beautés, famous screenwriters and crew, expensive car explosions or CGI, go elsewhere. LTA is neat magic-realism, a territory where people may be poor but not disgusting, where their houses are mere recreation centres for fantasy and everyday life to play happily together. Only time will tell if the trend keeps up, spreads globally, and ends up being called Globbywood.

This is a well-told tale of hope where only two professional actors are involved. And this was as clear to Berlinale judges as it is for the general public -those with a thirst for veritable, honest, witty craftsmanship at film-making.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful film

Author: yiuclaudia from Hong Kong
25 March 2010

I was so touched by this film, which is obviously a low budget production. It proves that you do not need a multi-billion budget to make a good movie. I think only women can understand fully the pain and the fear the heroine had to go through. I wonder if they produce a sound track for the movie. The songs by the heroine and that sonata adopted by the pianist were beautiful. Solier is a great actress and her facial features, well, what can I say, is not the kind of glamour you find on screens. She has character, reflecting her heritage. I immediately take a liking of her from the first few scenes.I It is disturbing to find people snubbing such a beautiful movie but I guess everyone to his/her tase.

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25 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Exotic but Boring and Unpleasant

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
18 July 2010

Fausta Isidora (Magaly Solier) is a weird young woman that lives permanently scared in a poor community in Lima. Her mother was raped by many men when she was pregnant of Fausta, and raised her daughter with a morbid fear of men. When her mother dies, Fausta has a bleeding and faints. Her uncle takes her to the doctor that finds that she keeps a potato inside her vagina to protect her against intercourse. Her uncle tells to the doctor that in accordance with the lore of the locals, she has a disease called "La Teta Assustada" (meaning "The Frightened Teat" in English) transmitted by the milk of an abused pregnant woman. Fausta decides to bury her mother in her home village, but neither she nor her uncle has the necessary amount for the coffin and the transportation. Fausta starts working as housemaid in the manor of a pianist to raise the necessary money; she befriends the gardener that helps her and Fausta finally resolves her issues.

"La Teta Assustada" is an exotic but boring and unpleasant low budget movie. The story is developed in slow-pace and probably will please viewers of the First World that maybe have never seen a slum and poor people like the dweller of Fausta's community. Magaly Solier has a great performance and her exotic beauty is impressive. The translation of the title of this film to English ("The Milk of Sorrow") is ridiculous since the correct translation would be "The Frightened Teat". The summary in IMDb from Pusan International Film Festival is ridiculous and the author has certainly not understood the story; or maybe the translation from Spanish was wrong. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "A Teta Assustada" ("The Frightened Teat")

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A touch of magic realism

Author: birthdaynoodle from garbanzo
3 October 2010

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.

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18 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Good performances, nice theme

Author: kosmasp
2 June 2009

I can see that or why many people will like this movie. There is the very great portrayal of the main actress, there is running theme in here that speaks to many art-house fans (even those who may not know that they are).

The pacing might seem awkward, some twists in the story line and/or character arc, might not be accessible to some viewers, but all those things make the movie even better. At least that's how I see it. Still as this is a movie that provokes or encourages you to think a lot, there might come up a few questions, story-wise and or character-wise that might leave you with a slightly bad taste.

And although up until now the review the user GeneralGrievous gave hasn't received positive feedback, you have to cut the guy some slack. If you read his review, you can understand why he didn't like the movie quite as much. I thought his review was helpful, even though I don't agree on everything he writes, because he explains not only why he thinks that way, but he gives a few glimpses into his knowledge of Peruvian film-making.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Strange but Interesting

Author: billcr12 from United States
31 May 2012

The Milk of Sorrow refers to the belief in Peru of the passing of a pregnant woman's suffering to her infant through her breast milk. Fausta is subjected to the violence of the military and the Shining Path radical group during the unrest of the 1980s

Fausta is a poor woman living in the mountains of Peru whose mother has died and because she cannot afford a burial, she puts her under a bed with a wedding dress on top of the dearly departed mom. Fausta was told repeatedly as a child growing up, of her mother's gang rape. She was never sure who her father was. As a result of the trauma, Fausta has inserted a potato into her vagina as a protection against rape; I am not making this up.

Fausta is hired by a wealthy pianist to work as a servant. The employer hears her singing songs learned from her mother. She offers her a beads from a broken necklace, but when the woman repeats the music at a concert and receives applause, she fires Fausta without giving her the pearls promised. Magaky Solier plays Fausta in a very subdued, low key manner, which fits the cold and dark tone of the film. The subject matter is grim, but it is based on reality, so expect ninety four minutes of a sad but compelling story.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Burying the dead

Author: jotix100 from New York
20 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fausta, the young Peruvian of Indian extraction, is suffering from a strange malady. When taken to a clinic to be examined, the doctor examining her, determines she has a growth in her vagina, he compares it to having a potato growing up inside her. The uncle explains to the doctor it is a condition deemed to be 'the milk of sorrow', something that was passed from her mother as she breast-fed Fausta when she was an infant. Many women were violated by the rebel groups that preyed on the Indian communities. In order to prevent being violated Fausta is carrying a potato in her vagina, something the science man cannot begin to imagine.

As the story begins, we see her with her mother who is singing a strange song, in Quechuan. Nothing seems to indicate she is suffering from an illness, but as the singing stops, the lady dies. Fausta is shocked when she realizes what has just happened. After accepting the fact about her mother, she must bury her. The uncle has already started to dig a spot in back of the house to serve as a tomb. Fausta does not have a lot of money. A visit to the undertakers prove to be useless, for she cannot afford to even buy the cheapest kind of funeral. In spite of that, Fausta and the women relatives, prepare the body by wrapping it in a sort of a shroud.

With the problem still at hand, Fausta is engaged as a maid in the home of a lady pianist. Her instructions are not to let any strangers in the house. The place is adjacent to what seems to be a public market. Fausta, a shy woman is amazed by what she finds in the fancy home, but she never gets close to the lady of the house. The breaking of a string of pearls, brings the maid to help the lady, who promises to give Fausta the pearls, eventually. The only person that is closer to the girl is the gardener, a man that, at times ogles the young girl with more than necessary, but nothing happens between them.

We witness a few garish weddings happening at the compound where Fausta's uncle lives. The family makes extra money by preparing these weddings, catering them, and providing entertainment. Sometimes Fausta helps serve the guests. After Fausta gets the pearls, her desire to bury the mother comes a possibility. We watch her and the relatives as they travel to a desert near the Pacific. Fausta knows exactly where will be her mother's resting place. The final shots of the film are full of symbolism. Fausta finds a small pot where two potatoes have flowered into a small plant.

Claudia LLosa, the Peruvian creator of this film, sets her film among the poor classes in a Lima suburb populated by the destitute. The place is not a ghetto, by any means, the only thing in common with that, would be the poor housing where the people in the story live. The area is located in hills with steep stairs that are used by the locals to come to town. Fausta is a symbol of the oppressed classes by representing a small part of that culture. Ignorance and superstition are rampant among the population, where even a doctor is questioned when it is evident Fausta has something that will lead to a bigger problem if not treated properly.

In Magaly Solier, Ms. LLosa has found a girl that personifies the type of individual she is supposed to be. Not having seen this actress before, or for that matter, any of the cast, seems to be a triumph for the director in getting the results she wanted to present. The character of Fausta is an enigma to most viewers. She is an aloof presence in the film. It is through her eyes the story is seen.

Natasha Braier, the cinematographer captured the dreary locales in which the film is set with somber reverence. The music is by Selma Mutal, relying in the type of musical influence from the group at the center of the story. Ms. LLosa's film is highly feminine, showing an innate talent for great things to come.

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