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Eternal Beauty: Margot Benacerraf’s “Araya”

Eternal Beauty: Margot Benacerraf’s “Araya”

Continuing its mission to rescue lost classics from obscurity, Milestone Films follows up recently restored releases Killer of Sheep and The Exiles with Margot Benacerraf’s lyrical and commanding Araya, a film which, though it shared the International Critics Prize with Hiroshima mon amour at Cannes in 1959, has eluded wide distribution until now. Venezuelan filmmaker Benacerraf focuses on the populace of the titular setting, vast salt marshes located on a peninsula off her home country’s northeastern coast. Although Araya is a cinematic act of preservation—a document chronicling a place and timeworn practices just prior to a move toward modernization by the area’s salt-harvesting industry—the director is interested in expressively rendering the circadian rhythms of Araya’s salt workers and fisherman, and so her film becomes an ode to the people of the region.

Click here to read the rest of Kristi Mitsuda’s review of Araya.

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