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Araya

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Venezuela, France
·
1959

1h 30m

Director Margot Benacerraf
Starring José Ignacio Cabrujas, Laurent Terzieff
Genre Documentary
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Famously praised by Jean Renoir, this documentary depicts the lives of laborers who extract salt from the sea off the coast of the Araya Peninsula in Venezuela. Filmed with a two person crew with remarkable attention to detail at the grueling physical labor required to mine the salt, and the coming industrialization threatening this way of life.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

40

The New York Times by

Whatever visual poetry the film possesses is overwhelmed by the thuddingly bad and nearly ceaseless narration, written by Ms. Benacerraf and Pierre Seghers.
70

Chicago Reader by Andrea Gronvall

This meticulous restoration dazzles with crisp, formally rigorous black-and-white images and a complex sound mix, as its minimalist story of three families of manual laborers unfolds against a harsh, barren peninsula.
80

Time Out by David Fear

The movie’s b&w images of craggy landscapes and shirtless young men have never looked more vibrant.
75

The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

As a piece of documentary filmmaking though, Araya is more noteworthy for what it reveals about a changing artform than for what it has to say about its subjects.
75

New York Post by V.A. Musetto

I'm not sure why it took 50 years for Araya to reach New York, but let us be thankful to Milestone Films for giving life to this forgotten film.
63

Boston Globe by Wesley Morris

While it insists that everyday lives in Araya are full of drudgery and toil, the film fails to produce a single ugly image.

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