Friday, August 6, 2010

Margot Benacerraf - Araya (1959)

Plot Summary:
Acclaimed as a forerunner of feminist Latina cinema, this brilliant film portrays the arduous daily activities of three local families living in one of the most barren regions on earth — Araya, an arid peninsula in northeastern Venezuela where man depends entirely on the fruits of the sea: salt and fish. For 450 years, since its discovery by the Spanish, the region’s salt was manually collected and stacked into glowing white pyramids. Overlooking the area, a 17th-century fortress built to protect against pirate raids stood as a reminder of the days when the mineral was worth as much as gold and
great fortunes were made in the salt trade. Benacerraf captures the grueling work of these salineros in breathtaking high-contrast black-and-white images. Her camera gracefully pans and glides to reveal the landscape and the people of the peninsula. 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.

Araya was entered into the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, where it shared the Cannes International Critics

Prize with Alain Renais's Hiroshima, Mon Amour.

spanish/no subs
no pass