Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cine peruano es lo mejor

And when I say that Peruvian film is the best, this time (and for the first time) I actually have some proof to back me up.

A few weeks ago, Peruvian film blogs were all aflutter because Claudia Llosa's new film, La teta asustada, became the first Peruvian film to play in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, one of the top film festivals in the world (the level of Cannes, Venice, etc.). The movie considers the idea that the fear experienced during the period of high terrorism in Peru (the Shining Path years through the 1980s, which actually correspond with my own time in Lima) can be trasmitted through breast milk across generations, particularly among those who were raped. Certainly, Peruvian filmmaking has tackled the subject of Sendero Luminoso before, but perhaps not quite from a perspective this personal or traumatic, certianly not from the perspective of a woman. Selection for the festival was huge news and one which the Peruvian cineblogosphere got very excited about. Sure, Peruvian films had gone to San Sebatian, or Sundance, but none had ever gotten this far. It was quite an honor to be nominated, and the Peruvians were having a great time with it.

I'm pretty sure no one expected the movie to win.

And yet, lo and behold, there you can see Claudia Llosa, the director of La teta asustada kissing her Golden Bear. Reuters reports that Llosa commented simply, "This is for Peru. This is for our contry." The first time a Peruvian film actually gets to play in the game, it wins.


Granted, I have a huge vested interest in this film and Peruvian film in general since, after all, I have a book on the topic coming out in just a few months. (You can even pre-order it! Shameless plug!) I have not even seen the film, but the trailer is very impressive. I also confess to being a smitten fan of Llosa's only other film, Madeinusa, which I knew I had to write about even before I finished watching it. That movie completely rocked my foundation about film in general, not to mention films coming from my "other country." It is beautiful, disturbing, unique in its storytelling. I am not surprised that Llosa's follow-up appears to have similar qualities.

Very few people are pointing out the fact that Llosa is only the third woman to ever direct a feature-length movie in Peru (along with Nora de Izcué and Marianne Eyde). Filmmaking (and film criticism) in Peru has been dominated by men since the very beginning and the number of impressive films centered around women are very few; even fewer are those focusing on Quechua-speaking women. The win is a huge thunderbolt to Peruvian film and may shake many foundations there.

Not to mention that drop-dead gorgeous lead actress Magaly Solier now has the honor of being kissed on the hand by none other than drop-dead gorgeous (and amazonian in her own way) jury president Tilda Swinton.
I can't wait to see the film for myself. ¡Viva Perú!

UPDATE: Variety has its review up as well as coverage of the event. And there is a YouTube clip of the announcement, including a mesmerizing speech by Magaly in Quechua. (No, I cannot translate it.)


Manasse said...

I am a Golden Bear.

Cal said...

If Tilda likes it then it can't be bad.

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Agata said...

Hello, i am writing my MA thesis on Madeinusa and La teta asustada. It would be great to share views on these films with you. If you're interested in talking about them, this is my e-mail address: