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(aka 'The Milk of Sorrow')

 

Directed by Claudia Llosa
Spain / Peru - 2009

 

Fausta (Magaly Solier) suffers from “The Milk of Sorrow”, an illness transmitted through mother’s milk by women who’ve been raped during Peru’s Civil Wars. Stricken with the fear that she’s contracted the illness from her mother's breast milk -- Fausta goes to extreme lengths to protect her own sexuality and safety. After her mother’s sudden death, she finds herself compelled to embark on a frightening journey for re-awakening, freedom and wholeness. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Gorgeously shot with a plethora of haunting images”. Claudia Llosa directs this Academy Award® Nominee for Best Foreign Film. Winner of the Golden Berlin Bear Award (Best Film) and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 59th Annual Berlin Film Festival.

****

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.

Excerpt from Empire Onine located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: February 12th, 2009 - Berlin International Film Festival

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Comparison:

Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:36:06  1:37:49.113
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 16,787,584,005 bytes

Feature: 16,742,737,920 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Spanish / Quechua (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1565 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1565 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English (burned-in) English (burned-in)
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: December 7th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 16,787,584,005 bytes

Feature: 16,742,737,920 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - October 12': The improvement in the 1080P video is evident by the screen capture comparisons. The Blu-ray is brighter, more detailed and sharper. It also exhibits depth and certain scenes can look quite striking. The infrequent noise on the SD has been almost totally removed. The audio has a lossless upgrade but remains modest and the English subtitles are burned-in. It remains bare-bones with no extras. I still like the film - it is kind of quirky and philosophical - certainly worthy of a spin.

***

ON THE DVD: Olive Films is handling another non-Paramount, modern, foreign-language film (as they did with Nicolo Donato's Brotherhood). This is a much better movie though, in my opinion - very curious, beautiful and with sub-textual messages and cohesive themes. Actually Ed Gonzales, of The Village Voice, said it perfectly: "...Llosa's style, which illuminates the indignities of emotional inheritance and internalized racism through its artfully gritty fixation on the rituals and superstitions of village life." A mouthful indeed - but an accurate, and shared, sentiment.   

Like all widescreen Olive Film DVDs to date this is dual-layered, anamorphic, progressive and bare-bones. It looks quite good at 1.85. It is thick, although not as heavy as Brotherhood. The cinematography by Natasha Braier is brilliant and a big part of the film's 'substance'. Each scene appears perfectly constructed. Colors look very good but detail is at the more modest end. There is, predictably, no damage. I don't have any hard-hitting complaints about the video - without a comparative source I'd say it probably looks accurate to its festival theatrical roots.

It's time we said it - while mainstream DVD may be dying a slow death - unique films like this (that you can't ever buy in Walmart discount bins) should continue for decades. The Milk of Sorrow is a wonderful film that, outside of the festival circuit, offers few avenues to view. Olive Films are giving us one method of presentation with this SD release.  

The unremarkable audio is mostly dialogue with plenty of contemplative pauses. It's flat but supports the film well enough. Unfortunately, the English subtitles are burned-in and I viewed this as a negative that hope this changes with Olive Films future foreign-language releases. As stated there are no extras - not even a trailer. Supplements here would be greatly appreciated - a commentary of some discussion of the film's many motifs and meanings would only solidify my strong opinion.

I'm keen to seek out Claudia Llosa's, highly lauded, first feature; Madeinusa (also starring Magaly Solier). The Milk of Sorrow is fascinating cinema. There is a lot of pain here - and coping. There is historical relevance and, while, most of the symbolism evaded me - I still thoroughly enjoyed my viewing. Yes, we strongly recommend seeing this film - if 'masterpiece' is too strong a word, well - it's definitely not far off. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

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Screen Captures

 

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1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


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2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
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1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

Box Cover

Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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