Cultures collide in this haunting tale about a beautiful villager whose life is changed irrevocably by her encounter with a handsome outsider. Madeinusa is an angel-faced 14-year-old girl who lives a simple existence with her unsympathetic father and younger sister in a picturesque village tucked deep into the mountains of Peru. While the townspeople are largely cut off from modern urban life, Madeinusa keeps a chest full of treasures left behind by her mother who abandoned the family. Costume jewelry and trinkets fuel the young girl's dreams of the city and the glamorous life that she imagines must await her there. When Salvador, a geologist from Lima, accidentally visits the town, Madeinusa is naturally fascinated, and she comes to his aid when the villagers imprison him in order to keep him from interfering with the weekend's festivities. Salvador has had the misfortune to arrive in the midst of an annual religious festival, during which the townspeople celebrate in ways that they ordinarily wouldn't dare even think about. They believe that sin does not exist between Good Friday, when Christ was crucified, and Easter Sunday, when he was resurrected. Thus, during this period they can do whatever they want, however reprehensible, without risking judgment. Llosa's stunningly assured debut feature is a totally original coming-of-age tale that expertly weaves the textural details of Andean village life with fictional elements to create a love story that contains emotional realism, fantastical whimsy, and unexpected twists. Ultimately, the audience is led on a shocking journey through the dark places that people go to when they are unafraid of God's wrath.
Writer and director Claudia Llosa was born in Lima, Peru in 1976. She holds a B.A. in filmmaking and a M.A. in screenwriting from Madrid's Escuela de Artes y Cine TAI, and she also studied directing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Llosa attended the Sundance Screenwriters Lab with the script for Madeinusa, which went on to receive the Coral Award for best original screenplay at the International Festival of New Latin Cinema in Havana. She also won a grant from the Fundación Carolina y Casa de América, which funds the development of Iberoamerican film projects. In 2004 Llosa directed the short film Seeing Martina. Madeinusa is her feature debut.