Movies in Quechua

In the 70’s, there was a wave of movies with themes about agriculture and people who live on the countryside. The movies were based on national literature with huge indigenous tendencies. Some examples of this movies are: Kuntur Wachana (1977), Laulico (1980), Los Perros Hambrientos (1976) and Yawar Fiesta (1986).

Laulico was one of the first movies that was 100% in Quechua. It is about a community leader who wants to liberate his community of the curse but he is later sent to prison for trying. The second part of the movie is about Laulico as a child and how he realizes that he needs to save the town of Wamani. Below a clip of the second part of Laulico when he was a kid.

In the mid 80’s the focus moved from the countryside to the city. A group called Chaski composed by some of the greatest minds in Peru such as Fernando Espinoza, Alejandro Legaspi, Stefan Kaspar, René Weber, Oswaldo Carpio, María Barea and Susana Pastor.  This group started making movies about poor barrios and chanty towns in Lima. They talked about the hardships of people from the countryside that come to the capital in search of a better future. They created  Gregorio (1984) and Juliana (1986) both about kids that live in the streets. There is not much Quechua in this movies but it shows the hardships of the capital. Below a clip from Gregorio  that talks about the glorious past of the indigenous people in contrast to the harsh reality they live in.

Recent films have both Spanish and Quechua mixed according to the area they are film. For example, Madeinusa (2006) was produced by Peru and Spain and directed by Claudia LLosa. The setting was an imaginary town in the Andean south. The movie talks about the monotonous life of Madeinusa and the tramas left behind by sendero (a Moist movement that killed many indigenous people or forced them to join the movement).

produced as a joint venture between Peru and Spain and directed by Claudia Llosa, was set in an imaginary Andean village and describes the stagnating life of Madeinusa performed by Magaly Solier and the traumas of post-civil war Peru.

Another movie directed by Llosa and played by Solier was the The Milk of Sorrow (“La Teta Asustada”). Both movies are predominant in Spanish but they also have a lot of Quechua. The movie talks about the life of a young woman who has la teta asustada. La teta asustada is a disease transmitted from mother to child when the mother was rape. This happened during the civil conflict between the army and Sendero, both groups mistreated indigenous people and abused women.

La teta asustada won many awards including the Golden Bear award at the 2009 Berlinale where Solier accepted the award in Quechua and sang to the audience one of the Quechua lullabies in the film. It was also nominated for an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Picture. It became the first Peruvian film to be nominated for an Academy award. 

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