Araya (1959)



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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 excruciating. Yet the lives of the fishermen and salt workers in this documentary are shown in the context of planned, upscale development, something of a disservice to the larger picture. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama , Special Interest
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Milestone Films


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Critic Reviews for Araya

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (10)

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

April 9, 2010
Denver Post
Top Critic

This astonishing documentary, so beautiful, so horrifying, was filmed in the late 1950s, when an old way of life had not yet ended.

Full Review… | January 13, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Like the late famed anthropologist Claude Lévi-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.

Full Review… | December 22, 2009
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Margot Benacerraf's starkly beautiful 1959 documentary Araya is the rare film whose austere stylistic impersonality is a key aspect of its elemental power.

Full Review… | November 5, 2009
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

It cares so passionately about its subjects that you will as well.

Full Review… | November 5, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Are you one of those moviegoers who likes discovering forgotten gems? Have I got a jewel for you.

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

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