Margot Benacerraf
Venezuela, FRA 1959
82 min

Salt has been harvested in the Araya lagoon in the northeastern part of Venezuela for centuries. Piled into enormous pyramids, it has become an integral part of the landscape. Those who don't toil in the saltworks, work in the fishing industry or are involved in one of the everyday routines that keep man alive. When you die in Araya, the grave is decorated with shells because flowers wouldn't grow in the salty ground.
Araya is a breathtakingly photographed black and white film that enters into a mimetic relationship with the landscape and the human body. It can, however, also be seen as a physical tale about the eternally unresolved contrast between lights and shadows, the observer and the observed, camera and subject. The salt serves as a mysterious intermediary: It gives the film its barren beauty and the contrasts which the salt's luminous white creates. It is also at once the livelihood and the burden of the people of Araya. The restoration of Margot Benacerraf's Araya based on the original negative is a mimetic gesture in its own right, because, in a certain way, it is the salt that has conserved this film. (Tobias Hering)

  • Margot Benacerraf
  • Pierre Seghers
  • Giuseppe Nisoli
  • Pierre Jallaud
  • Francine Grübert
  • Guy Bernard
  • José Ignacio Cabrujas
  • Scott MacQueen
Caroni Films C.A., Films de L'Archer

Milestone Films 38 George Street PO Box 128 Harrington Park, NJ 07640, USA T +1 201 767 31 17

35 mm
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