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Directed by Margot Benacerraf • 1959 • Venezuela
A work of such overwhelming grandeur that Jean Renoir told director Margot Benacerraf after viewing the film, “Above all . . . don’t cut a single image,” this poetic documentary-narrative hybrid is a landmark of both neorealist and feminist South American cinema. For five hundred years, the Araya peninsula in northeastern Venezuela has been mined for its salt. Through images of breathtaking beauty, Benacerraf captures the everyday lives of three families and their back-breaking work in the salt marshes, exquisitely preserving an embattled but tenacious way of life.