The list of Oscar nominees this year is formidable, and Latin American filmmakers have been honored by two nominations in the Best Foreign Film category: Argentina's "El Secreto en Sus Ojos" (The Secret in Their Eyes), which harkens back to the military regime of the 1970s and '80s in that country, and Peru's La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow), a story about the social and psychological impacts of the bloody Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) uprising in Peru in the 1980s and early 1990s.
About the former, the Hollywood Reporter review described it in this way: "A riveting Argentine thriller spiked with witty dialogue and poignant love stories, "The Secret in Their Eyes" interweaves the personal lives of a team of state prosecutors with a manhunt spanning 25 years."
The latter is described this way by a Bloomberg reviewer: "Directed by Claudia Llosa, the film stars Magaly Solier as Fausta, who suffers from a disease she believes is transmitted through the breast milk of women who were raped in the Shining Path’s war of terror in Peru. Her life starts to change direction after her mother dies and she goes to live in Lima"
The subject matter is not light, but then neither is reality in Latin America. These are films worth seeing, and their nomination by the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a nod toward the production values and important stories in the region.