Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I am not a television watcher, haven't plugged in for decades but occasionally turn on the infernal box when I am stuck in a hotel, usually leaving the experience even more disturbed about the human condition.

When I was in Santa Barbara I actually saw something beautiful and worth seeing on the tv. The Araya movie.

Araya is a movie filmed in 1959 that is set at an old salt mine on the remote Araya peninsula of Venezuela.

It was written and directed by the Venezuelan born director Margot Benacerraf. The film shared the International Critics Prize at Cannes the year of its release but was never distributed internationally.

The movie shares a 24 hour period in the life of the people of Araya.

 "On this land nothing grew and all was desolation, wind and sun. All life came from the sea, and from the marriage of sea and sun, salt was born."

Araya was never released in this country until the film was finally restored by Milestone Films in 2009.

This movie reminds me somewhat of Kurosawa, with the gorgeous cinematography of Giuseppe Nisoli, a strange discordant sound track of Guy Bernard, basically no dialogue to speak of beyond narration, and incredibly haunting imagery.

The movie has a palpable and engaging internal rhythm.

You might hate it, you might love it, but if you get the opportunity, watch it. A beautiful and unusual film.

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