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Araya (1959)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 72

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Movie Info

Shown at Cannes in 1959, the year after Venezuela's last dictator Marcos Perez-Jimenez was overthrown, the documentary inadvertently highlights the kind of exploitation of the poor that can lead to rebellion. While the dictator escaped to Miami with $13 million, salt workers were piling up mounds of salt on the flat sands, making barely enough money to keep them in arepas and black beans. Between the hot, tropical climate and the sores on their feet, the job these workers do every day is

May 17, 2011

Milestone Films

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (3) | DVD (7)

This expertly restored black-and-white work is a thing of wonder.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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This astonishing documentary, so beautiful, so horrifying, was filmed in the late 1950s, when an old way of life had not yet ended.

January 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Like the late famed anthropologist Claude LÚvi-Strauss, the movie wants to find a culture and explain it to the world. Araya finds a degree of romance in that discovery, and is weaker for it.

December 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Margot Benacerraf's starkly beautiful 1959 documentary Araya is the rare film whose austere stylistic impersonality is a key aspect of its elemental power.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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It cares so passionately about its subjects that you will as well.

November 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Are you one of those moviegoers who likes discovering forgotten gems? Have I got a jewel for you.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
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Araya is a tone poem, a poetic portrait of an ancient existence in the modern world, with narration (scripted with Pierre Seghers) to match...

May 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Not a documentary in the traditional sense ... this stark black and white film has the feel of an avant-garde science-fiction opus.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

steadily unfolds and immerses the viewer seamlessly into the daily rhythms of the people

May 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

A Robert Flaherty type of film.

December 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Be grateful that Araya is here, in an exquisitely restored print, with images of struggling Venezuelan peasants as luminous as the Mexican photographs of Edward Weston.

December 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A film of the simplest and most complex of working worlds. A wonderful visual poem.

October 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

Not just an artifact of a pre-industrialized culture infiltrated by modern equipment, it's an artifact of perspective and form.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

The movie is visually stunning, deploying fluid camerawork and stark black-and-white imagery to record the hardscrabble lives of Venezuelans living and working on a remote salt marsh.

October 8, 2009 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Despite its age, Araya feels as current as ever.

October 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A quietly powerful, lyrical and visually striking documentary.

October 8, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Although dubbed a 'tone poem,' it is better to consider 'Araya' as visual biblical parable, an artfully artless triptych built on sacred-mystical threes.

October 7, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

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Foreign Titles

  • Araya (1959) (DE)
  • Araya (UK)
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