Extraordinary film premiere in Peruvian shanty town

April 2009 -

The Peruvian-Spanish film La Teta Asustada, winner of the Golden Bear during the Berlinale 2009, experienced an extraordinary premiere. The film was shown to an audience in Peru for the first time in the shanty town of Manchay to the north-east of capital Lima where most of the film was made using local actors. Moreover, as a result of the film's success in Berlin its scheduled showing in Peruvian film theatres in September 2009 was moved up six months.


Opening night in Manchay

During a press conference in the parsonage of Manchay, a slum area with no drinking water or sewage facilities primarily inhabited by migrants from the higher Andes mountains, director Claudia Llosa said she was extremely glad that the film could be shown for the first time in her country in that very location: "I want to share its success with the people who were so enormously helpful to me during the production. It is like being able to come full circle."

The film, during part of which the Indian Quechua language is spoken, triggered a shower of responses in a country where film production is still in its infancy. Some criticise that it is umpteenth example of a 'white middle-class girl' laying stake on the problems facing the Andes culture and its inhabitants in order to benefit artistically and - considering the film's enormous success - financially. Such views with their venomous and sometimes racist undertones, however, are amply overpowered by the enthusiasm of the majority of the viewers. Peru's parliament is now considering significantly increasing the budget for the national film authority Conacine, which helped finance two of Llosa's films. President Alan Garcia took the initiative to personally congratulate the director and is contemplating presenting her with a national award.

Llosa, who has lived in Spain since she was eight, believes that extra funding for the national film industry should benefit talented young film professionals and educational organisations: "Directors, script writers and film technicians in Peru do not have enough opportunities to acquire professional experience in their work. Additional funds should be spent on improving and expanding training courses and production facilities. Hopefully the success of my film will help to make this possible."