LIMA – The announcement that a Peruvian movie was nominated for the first time for a foreign-language film Oscar sparked excitement in different parts of this Andean nation, the press in this capital reported.
“Peru in the Oscars,” “Peru on Display” and “Nominated to Make History” were some of the headlines run by Lima dailies Wednesday after Claudia Llosa’s “La Teta Asustada” (Milk of Sorrow) was named as one of the five nominees in that category.
The celebration over Tuesday’s nomination extended as far as the poor Lima neighborhood of Manchay, where the project was filmed.
In statements to several newspapers, local residents recalled that a shaman foresaw great success for the movie when, during an offering ceremony to Mother Earth at the start of filming, a rainbow appeared in the sky.
A party-like atmosphere could also be seen in the southern city of Huanta, where the film’s protagonist, 23-year-old Magaly Solier, was given rose bouquets and greeted by dozens of cheering admirers in her hometown when she arrived for a press conference at a local radio station.
Solier plays “Fausta,” a young provincial woman who comes to Lima to work and who suffers from a rare disease that was transmitted to her through the breast milk of her mother, who was raped while pregnant during the government’s brutal war against leftist guerrillas.
Fausta takes drastic measures to avoid being a victim of the same aggression that befell her mother.
“La Teta Asustada” is the first-ever Peruvian entry to be nominated in the Best Foreign-Language Film category and members of the Andean nation’s cinema community hailed the honor as a significant milestone.
“What’s happening is very important. No doubt it’s an important moment for our cinema,” Francisco Lombardi, director of the 1988 film “La boca del lobo” (The Lion’s Den).
For his part, Josue Mendez, director of “Dias de Santiago” (Days of Santiago) and “Dioses” (Gods), among other films, told La Republica newspaper that he was happy that Llosa work has been nominated and is certain it will take home the Oscar.
Filmmaker Alberto Durant said “the success of ‘La Teta’ ... showcases us to the world” and expressed hope that “the government makes a commitment to supporting the national film industry.”
Llosa’s film cost approximately $1.2 million to make and has grossed $700,000 at the box office in Peru, according to figures published by the financial daily Gestion.
But it will now be re-released at home and the film could bring in more than $3 million as a result of ticket sales abroad and money received from cable operators, the president of the Peruvian Film Producers’ Association, Augusto Tamayo, told Gestion.
Roughly 21 percent of funding for “La Teta Asustada,” a joint Peruvian and Spanish production, came from Peru and the film was backed by the state tourism-promotion agency PromPeru.
However, sources with the National Film Council told El Comercio daily that the Peruvian government owes close to $18 million to a fund to support new film productions.
The other films nominated in for this year’s foreign-language film Oscar were German director Michael Haneke’s “Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte” (The White Ribbon), Argentine filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella’s “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (The Secret in their Eyes), Israeli directors Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s “Ajami” and French filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s “Un Prophete” (A Prophet).
The Oscar winners will be revealed during the Academy Award ceremony on March 7 in Hollywood, California. EFE