Nov 13 - Nov 19, 2009

(Margot Benacerraf, Venezuela / France, 1959, 35mm, 82 min)

Seattle Premiere

New 35mm Print

In 2006, a team of world-renowned film archivists and historians painstakingly restored the Venezuelan masterpiece Araya to its original, complete version—a version that had not been seen since its initial 1959 release. This remarkably beautiful documentary about life on the arid peninsula of Araya has won unanimous critical acclaim upon each of its rare screenings over the past five decades. Not until now, however, have audiences had the chance to experience the original version that prompted Jean Renoir to urge Benacerraf: “Above all…don’t cut a single image!” Lyrically capturing the rhythms of a culture over the course of 24 hours, Araya is canonical both as Venezuelan and as feminist Latina cinema.

"Fifty years after its debut, 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 that this unforgettable film has been restored." - Steven Soderbergh (Oscar-winning director of Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Che, Ocean's Eleven and Sex Lies and Videotape.  

"Stunningly shot and brilliantly crafted, this is a singular work from an incredibly distinct filmmaker. ARAYA is at once a revealing study of a very unique way of life and also a powerful meditation on the inextricable ties between society and place. We should all feel lucky to have this almost-forgotten gem unearthed and restored in all its beauty." - Barbara Kopple (Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker of American Dream, Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing and Harlan Harlan County, USA.) 

“The film, from the first images, submerges the viewer into a universe of rare beauty.” —From the original 1959 press notes 


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