The Milk Of Sorrow Review

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Young Peruvian Fausta (Solier) lives with an anxiety her uncle (Ballón) believes was passed to her through her mother's breast milk, the result of trauma suffered at the hands of Shining Path terrorists.


The winner of last year’s Golden Bear at Berlin, Claudia Llosa’s second feature is a sincere tribute to the women who endured rape, torture and violence during Peru’s traumatic past. According to uncle Marino Ballón, Magaly Solier inherited her fears from her recently deceased mother’s milk. However, she also harbours a deeper secret, and it’s only when she starts working as a maid for temperamental pianist Susi Sánchez that she begins to exorcise her demons in evocative whispered songs.

Using Natasha Braier’s sinuous camerawork to contrast the serenity of Sánchez’s compound with the bustle of the surrounding streets and the poverty of Ballón’s shack, this is a slow-burning saga that’s made irresistible by its magic realist intensity.

A rich and imaginative evocation of a family in turmoil.