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Berlin Film Festival Winners: 'The Milk of Sorrow'

South American cinema – once again – performed quite well at the Berlin Film Festival, which came to a close on Sunday, Feb. 15.

The Golden Bear for best picture went to La Teta Asustada / The Milk of Sorrow (the Spanish title would actually translate as “The Frightened Tit”), the first Peruvian production – actually a Spanish-Peruvian-Chilean co-production, made with the assistance of the Berlinale's own World Cinema Fund – in the festival's main competition.

Clip posted by lahigueranet.

Directed by Claudia Llosa (niece of writer Mario Vargas Llosa), The Milk of Sorrow tells the story of a young housemaid (Magaly Solier) born as a result of her mother's rape during the years the Sendero Luminoso and government-sponsored paramilitary groups roamed the Peruvian countryside. While being breast-fed as a baby, the young woman had inherited her mother's pains and fears; now, as an adult, she must find a way out of her gloom.

Adrián Biniez's Uruguayan-Argentinian-German co-production Gigante won three awards: it shared both the Jury's Grand Prix (with Maren Ade's German drama Alle Anderen / Everyone Else) and the Alfred Bauer prize (with Andrzej Wajda's Tatarak / Sweet Rush), and took the award for first film. Set in Montevideo, Gigante follows a burly supermarket guard (Horacio Camandule) who uses his many security cameras to spy on one of the employees with whom he's in obsessively in love.

Jorge Becerra, Guillermo Villegas in Raging Sun, Raging Sky

Also from the Western Hemisphere, Mexican filmmaker Julián Hernández's 190-minute mystical-romantic drama Rabioso Sol, Rabioso Cielo / Raging Sun, Raging Sky earned the director his second Teddy Award for best film with a gay theme. Hernández had previously won in 2003, for A Thousand Clouds.

Birgit Minichmayr in Everyone Else

Other top Berlin winners were best director Asghar Farhadi for the Iranian psychological drama About Elly, the tale of a family vacation gone awry; best actor Sotigui Kouyate, playing a bereaved father who lost his son in the 2005 London bombings in Rachid Bouchareb's London River; and best actress Birgit Minichmayr (above, with Lars Eidinger) as a woman unsure about both her future and her relationship with her boyfriend (Eidinger) in Everyone Else.

Pawel Szajda, Krystyna Janda in Sweet Rush

Also, best screenplay winners Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon for the military drama The Messenger; and Alfred Bauer Prize co-winner Sweet Rush (above), a post-World War II story about the relationship between a terminally ill middle-aged woman (Wajda veteran Krystyna Janda) and a younger man (Pawel Szajda).

Last year, José Padilha's controversial Brazilian slum-crime drama The Elite Troop, took the Golden Bear.


         
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