Araya (1959), Margot Benacerraf

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Araya is a 1959 Venezuelan-French documentary film directed by Margot Benacerraf and co-written by Benacerraf and Pierre Seghers. It depicts the lives of laborers who extract salt from the sea off the Araya peninsula in Venezuela. Their method for extracting salt, virtually unchanged for centuries, depends on grueling physical labor, but provides a dependable, if meager, living for the men and their families. The film ends with a recently built plant for mechanized salt extraction that could eliminate the community’s traditional source of income.

The film was entered into the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, where it shared the Cannes International Critics Prize with Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour.

In 2009, Milestone Films released Araya in North American theaters for the first time as well as rereleasing it internationally. Milestone also distributes a restored DVD version of the film.