Nostalgia for the Light (2011)
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) Icarus … More
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Critic Reviews for Nostalgia for the Light
Moving and poetic, with beautiful composition and strong direction, Nostalgia For The Light has an authentic sense of gravitas.
The vast expanse of the world's driest place - captured here in all its arid intensity - makes for a fascinating and eerie backdrop.
A seriously remarkable documentary-essay from the Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán.
A remarkably lyrical, strikingly beautiful documentary reflecting on memory, mortality and the inexorable passing of time.
You wait all year for a thought-provoking movie-essay on life, art, science or history. Then in Nostalgia for the Light all four arrive together.
Sticking in the mind, Nostalgia for the Light leaves much food for thought on life's important questions.
Pasts both collective and personal are thoughtfully examined in Patricio Guzmán's ethereal documentary.
A fascinating and insightful documentary combining philosophical theories with personal tragedies that's beautifully directed and magnificent to watch.
A truly insightful art film that still manages to be easy-going and unpretentious.
Not just a phenomenal human story - which was guaranteed from the moment Guzmán chose his subject - but a gripping work of cinema as well.
...an almost perfect documentary, confronting history, memory, and science in a way that touches the heart, provokes the mind, and humbles the spirit.
In this poetic - though overstated - documentary, Patricio Guzmán ponders these two ways of looking back in time, merging the celestial and sublunary like Terrence Malick in The Tree of Life or Werner Herzog in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
Audience Reviews for Nostalgia for the Light
Nostalgia for the Light is a speculative and dream-like documentary mixing archaeology and astrology but explaining that they are one and the same. Patricio Guzmán also uses Chile's history from Pre-Colombian sheppards, 19th century explorers and miners and victims of Pinochet's regime to further explain the need to look into our past to see into the future. The fact that the Pre-Colombian Shepperd's drawings are on rocks close to the Chilean observatory, with the mummies of explorers close by and that the area is frequented by the mothers and wives of the victims of the nearby concentration camp who are looking for what remains they can find (often small fragments of bone) just helps to paint this picture of the history of everything in such a small and arid place in the most haunting and beautiful way. My only wish is that I'd seen this on the big screen. Herzog's documentaries are my favourite but this comes a close second.More
"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.More
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.More
This is a documentary embraced and draped in total respect, beauty and profound contemplation. It is an essay, a cinematic spectacle, a tribute to the dead, a tribute to the stars and Herzog-esque in its form of creative documentary. Try to catch this if you ever see it playing and I need to seek out more of this directors work!More
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