Sold internationally by The Match Factory and supported by the Berlinale's World Cinema Fund among others, Llosa's second feature after her well received Madeinusa centres on a timid 20-year-old girl facing big city life in the Peruvian capital Lima after her mother dies.
The evening's other big winner from Latin America was Argentinian-born director Adrian Biniez's humorous and highly imaginative feature debut Gigante which shared the Grand Jury Prize with German filmmaker Maren Ade's Everyone Else and the Alfred Bauer Prize with Polish old master Andrzej Wajda's Sweet Rush as well as picking up the Best First Feature Film Award. The Match Factory has already sold the Uruguayan-German-Argentine-Dutch co-production to Germany's Neue Visionen and Norway's Fidalgo.
While Hans-Christian Schmid's Storm did not get a look in at any of the official jury's prizes, the English language political thriller attracted three commendations from the independent juries: the Amnesty International Film Prize, the Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas, and the Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Prize, which Schmid said was his first ever audience award.
Meanwhile, one of the festival favourites - Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's About Elly took home the Silver Bear for Best Direction. The Silver Bear for best short went to UK's Dan Elliott for his short film Jade.
Speaking about the International Jury's work at the awards ceremony in front of 1,600 guests in the Berlinale Palast, president Tilda Swinton congratulated festival director Dieter Kosslick on his choice of jury members, noting that there had been 'lots of voices' in the jury, but their decisions had been unanimous including for the Golden Bear and the ex aequo - 'vive la difference!' (Swinton) - for Grand Jury Prize to Gigante and Everyone Else.
In an official statement, the jury declared that 'this year's competition presents a broad range of films whose central aim consists in exploring ways to further the interpretation and understanding of important topics of our time. Therefore the jury has decided to award prizes to those efforts which achieve a balance between the political statement and the poetic form.'
Giving a resume of the Berlinale's 2009 edition during the ceremony, Kosslick said that it had been 'a Berlinale against the crisis. Here we have celebrated cinema, the great artists and their films.' His biggest surprise this year - apart from the private joke that Berlin Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit was in the audience after being absent at the opening ceremony - was the success of the new screening venue in the Friedrichstadtpalast musical theatre.
The number of tickets sold rose year-on-year from last year's final total of 240,000 by 30,000 to 270,000 this year. This was largely thanks to the additional screening capacity of the 1,800 seats at the Friedrichstadtpalast for four daily repeat screenings of Competition titles and five special gala presentations from the Berlinale Special sidebar in the evenings.
Meanwhile, on the evening before the gala closing ceremony, the international critics federation FIPRESCI announced its three awards to Claudia Llosa's The Milk Of Sorrow (Competition), Rune Denstad Langlo's North (Panorama) and Sono Sion's Love Exposure (Forum).
Main Competition - International Jury prizes
Golden Bear: The Milk Of Sorrow directed by Claudia Llosa
Alfred Bauer Prize: Gigante by Adrian Biniez and Sweet Rush by Andrzej Wajda
Grand Jury Prize: Gigante by Adrian Biniez and Everyone Else by Maren Ade
Silver Bear, Best Direction: Asghar Farhardi About Elly
Silver Bear, Best Actress: Birgit Minchmayr Everyone Else
Silver Bear, Best Actor: Sotigui Kouyate London River
Silver Bear Best Screenplay: Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon The Messenger
Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution: sound designer Gabor Erdelyi and Tamás Szekely Katalin Varga
Best First Feature Film Award: Gigante by Adrian Biniez
Special Mention: The Girl (Flickan) by Fredrik Edfeldt
A complete list of Berlinale prizes is at www.berlinale.de