Price: $350.00

    Code: 2541

    Directed by Mike Plunkett
    2015, 76 minutes
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom rental: $125

    A rare and thorough look at the earth’s largest salt flat, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, Salero is a poetic journey through the eyes of Moises Chambi Yucra, one of the last remaining salt gatherers. This secluded region is thrust into the future when Bolivia embarks on a plan to extract a precious mineral from the Salar and to build an infrastructure that will connect it to the modern world.

    For Moises, being a salero is more than a job, it is his inheritance from his forefathers and his legacy for his sons. When not on the salt flat with his truck and pickaxe, Moises is at home in Colchani, a dusty outpost known as the “gateway to the Salar.” He lives among the few who still gather salt the “old-fashioned way” with his wife, Nelvi, and two young sons.

    While Moises is content living in, as he calls it, “the most peaceful place on earth,” Nelvi sees their future differently. Family and friends have been migrating to bigger cities and she is studying to be a hairdresser and dreams of leaving, too. When she tries to discuss the idea of moving, Moises’ answer is always the same: his work is his life, and his life is here. The city is all about greed, he says, the antithesis of the life he has built.

    While salt is precious to Moises, the untapped lithium beneath the Salar — estimated to be half the planet’s supply — has captured the imagination of industrial powers across the globe. If it can be extracted, experts say, the lithium will make Bolivia “the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century.” President Evo Morales arrives on the Salar, heralding his blueprint for Bolivia’s new destiny. He plans to build a lithium industry without interference from other nations – a historic departure from Bolivia’s legacy of natural resource exploitation by foreigners. Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president and is a proponent of nationalized economic progress. The government-run COMIBOL (La Corporación Minera de Bolivia) will begin its plan by building a pilot lithium extraction operation and plant. A thoughtful and businesslike man named Marcelo Castro Romero is put in charge of making it happen.

    A reflective glimpse at life in one of the most remote places on earth, Salero explores what it means to be the last link between tradition and progress.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    Best Documentary Feature & Best Director Award - RiverRun International Film Festival
    Official Selection, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
    Official Selection, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
    Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival
    Official Selection, Margaret Mead Film Festival
    Official Selection, Camden Film Festival
    Official Selection, Maryland Film Festival
    Official Selection, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival


    "Stunning. A poetic inquiry into the nature of identity and change in the modern world." - Margaret Mead Film Festival

    "Salero is both elegy and reportage, a combination of sublime visual grandeur and prosaic fact-filled journalism. All the while awestruck by sumptuous images of breathtaking landscapes – juxtaposed with no-less beautiful close-up shots of human skin burned and wrinkled by the sun – we find ourselves immersed in the nitty-gritty details of a region and country in flux." - Hammer to Nail

    "As one watches Salero, it’s often difficult to imagine why anyone would want to disturb such a pristine and serene landscape. Plunkett’s documentary manages to look at the stark impact of industrialization on a remote area through an often poetic lens." - The Huffington Post

    "Stunning landscape imagery, coupled with Moises’s thoughtful ruminations and candid insights from his wife and family, create a poetic inquiry into the nature of identity and change in the modern world." - Cinelandia

    "A breathtaking and briskly paced documentary. Using its beautiful landscape as a backdrop for an almost Malickian style documentary, director Mike Plunkett makes his feature directorial debut with one of the year’s truly genuine surprises." - Criterioncast

    Further Reading

    In Bolivia, Untapped Bounty Meets Nationalism (The New York Times)


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