Milk of Sorrow

As she lies dying, an old peasant woman sings the song of her life. She tells of her rape in the civil war, and having to eat her husband’s penis. Fausta, her daughter, is withdrawn and generally fearful, particularly of men. To avoid rape herself, she places a potato in her vagina – she has absorbed, with her mother’s first breast milk, her sorrow and trauma.

The untrained Magaly Solier as Fausta dominates this magical realist fable of a woman confronting her fears so she can take her mother’s body from Lima back to her distant village. Visually striking, Llosa’s calm observance of Fausta is like a balm for her turmoil.


New Internationalist issue 433 magazine cover This article is from the June 2010 issue of New Internationalist.
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