9–10 November 2013
'Araya has lost none of its ability to fascinate and move us with its hypnotic combination of beauty and hardship. It's a gift to cineastes.' Steven Soderbergh
Araya was recently restored by Milestone Film and Video, New York, who have made available a new 35mm-film print for this Australian premiere. On the film’s debut at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, Araya shared the Fipresci Critics’ Award with Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour. It was the first film from Venezuela to win a major award at Cannes. Although she made only two films, Venezuelan Margot Benacerraf is a significant figure in Latin American cinema. She founded the Cinemateca Nacional in Caracas in 1966, nurtured the film industry in Venezuela and is a champion of Latin American film.
Araya 1959 All ages
Sat 9 Nov 2.00pm and Sun 10 Nov 11.00am / Cinema A
35MM (RESTORATION), BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 82 MINUTES, VENEZUELA, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: MARGOT BENACERRAF / PRODUCER: HENRY NADLER / SCRIPT: MARGOT BENACERRAF, PIERRE SEGHERS / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GIUSEPPE NISOLI / EDITOR: PIERRE JALLUAD / CAST: JOSE IGNACIO CABRUJAS, LAURENT TERZIEFF / MUSIC: GUY BERNARD / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CARONIC FILMS CA, FILMS DE L’ARCHER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MILESTONE FILM AND VIDEO
'More or less unseen for half a century, Margot Benacerraf's starkly beautiful 1959 documentary is the rare film whose austere stylistic impersonality is a key aspect of its elemental power. Benacerraf records the rituals of workers in a Venezuelan salt marsh — men who lift salt chunks out of the ocean shallows, then tote the crystals in baskets to form giant pyramids — in labours unaltered from 500 years ago. The movie has an undertow of poetic Marxism: it reveres this work, yet also silently protests its noble, gruelling sameness.’ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly