Saturday, October 9, 2010

LA TETA ASUSTADA
(THE MILK OF SORROW)

9th Spanish Film Festival
Cinema 1, Greenbelt 3




This Peruvian film focuses on Fausta who suffers from "la teta asustada" which literally translates to 'frightened breast'. It is said to be a condition that afflicts the children of women who were raped or abused during Peru's years of terrorism.

Fausta is inherently a timid and innocent girl who certainly seems harmless. Yet she feels the need to torture herself emotionally and physically as a result of her 'situation'. She is constantly terrified, especially of men, and goes to extreme lengths to protect herself against a largely non-existent threat of rape.

The film which is set in a dusty and arid Peruvian town draws much inspiration from its authentic location. Giving us a glimpse into the daily existence of its inhabitants who are mostly poor yet are also enriched by their religious beliefs, local folklore and ancient traditions.

For instance, they kept showing numerous wedding ceremonies. These include odd pairings, absurd photo moments and celebratory dancing. The brides are always content in their wedding gowns and the gathered observers are always euphoric despite the fact that the impoverished backdrop is bleak, hopeless and foreboding.

What's even more remarkable is that these moments of happiness are depicted as not only a result of the bad times, but as an inherent and inevitable consequence of suffering.

Shot with a mix of carefully framed long shots and mobile close-ups, this is certainly one of the strangest films I've watched in my viewing history. I can't say that it was eccentric nor was it quaint, I figure that unique would be the correct word!

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