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A “Warrior” from Peru

August 27, 2010

Magaly Solier, a talented young Peruvian actress, stars in two films that have come out in the last week in New York: Altiplano and The Milk of Sorrow. In both she plays young indigenous woman persecuted by the forces of history, but the performances–and the films–are very different.

Read my profile of Solier at indieWIRE.

(Personally, I preferred Altiplano‘s flight into irrational mysticism and audiovisual splendor to The Milk of Sorrow‘s dry symbolic realism, but The Milk of Sorrow won the Golden Bear and an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. So what do I know?)

(What do I know? Glad you asked–Altiplano has been unfairly skewered in the press because it was written and directed by a Belgian/American filmmaking team (Brosens and Woodworth) whose pretentious statements about their filmmaking style don’t help. Especially since Babel and Crash, critics are hyper-sensitive to Western guilt being exorcised through so-called “network narratives,” and Altiplano appears, on the surface, to be just such an offender. The Milk of Sorrow, on the other hand, bears the stamp of “authenticity,” because it’s director is part Peruvian, even though she lives and works from Spain. Its symbolism is much easier to read and interpret in comparison to the purposefully obscure Altiplano. I still don’t entirely know what Altiplano is trying to say–and judging by their statements about their approach, neither do Brosens and Woodworth–but I know its striking visuals and haunting score will linger with me long after I’ve forgotten The Milk of Sorrow.)

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