• Venezuela, France
  • 82
  • PG
  • Margot Benacerraf
  • Margot Benacerraf
  • Henry Nadler (Producer)
  • Giuseppe Nisoli (Cinematographer)
  • Pierre Jalluad (Editor)
  • Francine Grübert (Editor)
  • Margot Benacerraf (Writer)
  • Pierre Seghers (Writer)
  • Guy Bernard (Music)

Called “a gift to cineastes” by Steven Soderbergh, Margot Benacerraf’s 1959 documentary Araya was rarely seen for half a century. A masterpiece largely forgotten by the film world, it has now been fully restored. The film portrays a day in the life of three families living in one of the harshest places on earth: Araya—an arid peninsula in northeastern Venezuela. Benacerraf captures the gruelling work of these salineros in breathtaking high-contrast black-and-white images. Described by the filmmaker as “a tone poem,” Araya was meticulously planned to combine the cinematography, music, sound and language to create a moving and magical exploration of a desolate place and the remarkable people who lived there. And it does so with stunning richness of image, sheer poetry of sound and visuals and a profound respect for the people of Araya. On seeing the exquisite beauty of the film, Jean Renoir told Benacerraf, “Above all…don’t cut a single image!”

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