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 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
The movie is built around a metaphor about history/time. The astronomy half is aesthetically appealing. The second half is languid interviews with 5 women who have dedicated 30+ years of their lives searching for the remains of relatives. I made it about half way through the second part and turned it off.
The point when I turned it off was when you learn the one woman had found the foot and portion of the scull of here brother several years ago and she was still looking for more pieces. Also the keep flashing back to the astronomer asking him questions about the women and Chile's brutal history.
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