For two months in 1967, Allard, an American, visited the Basque homeland in the Pyrenee Mountains between France and Spain, photographing a peasant culture that has since given way to technological progress. He was aided by Laxalt, a native of the region, who here depicts in poetic vignettes the Basques as they then were. The brief text combines with 70 color photos to create a spellbinding flow of words and images: a young shepherd displays a preference for solitude as he unsmilingly extends hospitality to visitors; modern-day bards tell stories and speak their emotions through song; villagers participate in the weekly market. Solemn elderly people and curious children gaze into the camera but young adults are conspicuously absent, suggesting that simple Basque life cannot compete with the lure of money and the metropolis. Allard's photographs glow and, with the text, form a prepossessing volume that allows a poignant glimpse of a vanished lifestyle. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990 Release date: 11/01/1990 Genre: Nonfiction
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