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A Tuberous Fetish: The Potato as Protagonist in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009)

Geraghty, N; (2021) A Tuberous Fetish: The Potato as Protagonist in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009). Journal of Romance Studies , 21 (2) pp. 185-208. 10.3828/jrs.2021.11. Green open access

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Abstract

Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009) has often been analysed in academic literature. Such discussions frequently focus on the film’s central female character, Fausta, as a means either to critique the representation of indigenous Andean characters within the film or to celebrate themes of female empowerment. In contrast, this article provocatively suggests that a potato that Fausta inserts into her vagina is the true protagonist of the film. Drawing on the work of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Laura U. Marks, it will be demonstrated that Fausta’s potato is an unusual tripartite fetish: a commodity; a materialization of psychical power; and an intercultural object imbued with agency. In this way, the article proposes that Llosa manipulates Peruvian cultural history in such a way that the film is rather more complex and ambiguous than it may at first appear.

Type: Article
Title: A Tuberous Fetish: The Potato as Protagonist in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada (2009)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3828/jrs.2021.11
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3828/jrs.2021.11
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Claudia Llosa; La teta asustada; potato; commodity fetish; vagina dentata; intercultural fetish; indigenous beliefs in Peru
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128412
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