Moises and his family have been collecting salt for generations at the glittering, expansive, almost otherworldly salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. He cannot imagine a better place to live than the remote village of his birth in the highlands of Bolivia. Then one day, progress inevitably comes knocking on his door when the government decides to mine lithium — a raw material used in batteries, among other things — from the deepest salt layer. Centuries after the Spaniards emptied the Bolivian silver mines, leaving the country destitute, Bolivians start counting the profits.
An international airport is built close to Moises's village, roads are paved and tourists arrive to gape at the exceptional landscape. Selling salt becomes less and less profitable, and Moises looks on aghast as his brother swaps salt mining for selling souvenirs. Progress seems unstoppable: Moises's young sons won't become saleros like him, and his wife starts dreaming of a modern life as a hairdresser in the city.
While the village looks forward to a prosperous future, Moises wrestles with his disappearing way of life. Set against stunning footage of the pristine white landscape and images from his everyday life, Moises philosophizes about the significance of his beloved region, the confusing consequences of economic progress and his place in the world.
A film by Mike Plunkett [76 minutes]
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