Nostalgia for the Light (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nostalgia for the Light (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Nostalgia for the Light Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

For his new film master director Patricio Guzmán, famed for his political documentaries (THE BATTLE OF CHILE, THE PINOCHET CASE), travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: those of Pre-Columbian mummies; 19th century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, "disappeared" by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973 So while astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies, at the foot of the mountains, women, surviving relatives of the disappeared whose bodies were dumped here, search, even after twenty-five years, for the remains of their loved ones, to reclaim their families' histories. Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey..--(c) Icarusmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Patricio Guzmán
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 13, 2011
Box Office: $96.1k
Icarus Films - Official Site


Patricio Guzmán
as Narrator, Voice
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nostalgia for the Light

Critic Reviews for Nostalgia for the Light

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (14)

A truly eye-opening experience.

Full Review… | July 10, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

A nearly unbearable examination of good and bad in the human heart.

Full Review… | June 9, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Often stark and ravishing, Nostalgia for the Light is most moving as a manifestation of the filmmaker's stubborn righteousness.

Full Review… | April 18, 2016
In These Times

Moving and poetic, with beautiful composition and strong direction, Nostalgia For The Light has an authentic sense of gravitas.

Full Review… | November 11, 2013
We Got This Covered

The vast expanse of the world's driest place - captured here in all its arid intensity - makes for a fascinating and eerie backdrop.

Full Review… | August 12, 2012
Fan The Fire

Patricio Guzman returns to the subject of his masterpiece.

Full Review… | July 17, 2012
The List

Audience Reviews for Nostalgia for the Light

A beautiful, contemplative and deeply poetic exploration of the past, in which Guzmán draws an intelligent parallel between our search for the origins of the universe through science and our general tendency to ignore our recent History, especially a chapter that should never be forgotten.

Carlos Magalhăes

Super Reviewer

"Nostalgia for the Light" is an impressive and powerful cine-essay from Patricio Guzman that is marred only by some unnecessary effects work, especially considering the naturally spectacular Atacama Desert of Chile which resembles Mars on display.(So, I would not be surprised if it has ever been used as a location for a science fiction movie.) Its height of 5,000 meters is optimum for the use of telescopes to look backwards into the history of the cosmos.(To the film's credit, there is one astoundingly mindbending bit of metaphysics arguing that due to the speed of light, there is no true present.) As we are informed, this is in a country that going back to colonial times has had a problem with how it views its past. This continues to the present day's challenges with how it deals with the mass killings committed under the Pinochet dictatorship. With the desert's total lack of humidity(the only place on earth like this), it preserves ancient artifacts extremely well, not to mention more recent bodies that were dumped there(one is found during filming) in the hope of never being found again. However, an intrepid group of volunteers carry on their neverending search to find closure for themselves and loved ones. In the end, one has to come to terms with the past before one can look to the future and maybe eventually to the stars.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Beautiful cinematography and incredible views of the universe, but this film lacked focus and tried maybe a little too hard to draw parallels between astronomy, archaeology and the search for traces of those who were "disappeared" during the reign of terror that occurred in Chile under Pinochet. By casting such a wide net, the filmmakers wound up only able to scratch the surface of any of these three topics. The setting was the arid desert in the Chilean highlands, Atacama, the most arid place on earth. This is where NASA conducted experiments for its mars mission, as the climate most closely approximates the conditions on the red planet. This lends itself to near-perfect conditions for stargazing and also provides an environment where bodies are naturally mummified. The filmmakers aim was noble. This film failed to live up to its promise.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

Nostalgia for the Light Quotes

Narrator: Compared to the immensity of the cosmos, the problems of the Chilean people might seem insignificant. But if we laid them out on a table, they would be as vast as a galaxy.
– Submitted by Tomas K (4 years ago)

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