Araya

Washington, D.C. Premiere This brilliant tone poem has changed the face of Latin American film history. Rarely shown, it 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. For 450 years, since its discovery by the Spanish, the region’s salt was manually collected and stacked into glowing white pyramids. Filmmaker Margot Benacerraf captures the grueling work of these salineros in breathtaking high-contrast black-and-white images. All night, the Pereda family toils in the salt marshes. In the morning, the Salaz clan arrives to load and stack the crystals under the hot brutal sun. Down the coastline, the Ortiz family fish and tend their nets, while the youngest member, Carmen, collects seashells and coral. According to the filmmaker, the film was never meant to be a documentary – it was meticulously planned as a tone poem – a composition in which cinematography, music, sound and language combine to create a moving and magical exploration of a desolate place and the remarkable people who lived there. Araya is a film of lasting beauty, stunning richness of image, sheer poetry of sound and visuals, and a profound respect for the people of Araya. Directed by Margot Benacerraf. Produced by Milestone Films. Winner of Cannes International Critics Prize.

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