Sunday, Feb 14th

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Milk Of Sorrow, The

This is an Oscar-nominated Peruvian film about a young woman who has inserted a potato inside her vagina because her mother (now dead) has filled her with dread about the idea of being raped (which happened to her during the terrorist years).

I know this is not the most appealing description of a film, and is hardly likely to get you phoning the babysitter so that you can dash down to the cinema to see it, but there isn't any getting around the fact that this potato business is rather central to the film's narrative. The other theme is the girl's desire to take her mother's body to the village of her birth, for which she has to earn some money by working for a rich pianist.

My feelings about it are mixed. On the one hand, it's a powerful and lovingly filmed story about a part of the world which we never see, especially among people who live lives of near poverty. On the other hand, there's the fact that the film is slow, and occasionally funereal in its pace, and that Fausta (the heroine) is not an especially sympathetic character, who rarely smiles, is terrified of any contact with people, and suffers completely unnecessarily with the aforementioned potato. On balance, I'd encourage you to go and see it, since so much of what is currently showing is complete dross, which this is not. But don't go expecting a barrel of laughs, because it's a sombre piece with only a very small flicker of hope at the end.