Nostalgia for the Light
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Deeply Affecting! Critics Pick. --New York Magazine
The film is gorgeous, purposefully slow, almost a meditation. Guzmán tells us life in the Atacama Desert is an eternal book of memories. And he lingers on every page, capturing shots of constellations with the care of a master photographer. Imagine Ansel Adams, working in colour, let loose in the Milky Way. --Stephen Cole, The Globe and Mail
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In a conversation at the Cannes film festival, where this film was first screened, Guzman described it as "metaphysical, mystical or spiritual, astronomical, ethnographic and political." You might add "environmental," since the film asks us to consider ourselves in relation to our environment both in the broadest sense, as we are inhabitants of a small rock hurtling through the immensity of an inhospitable space, and in the most immediate sense as we are political creatures, who make for ourselves an uneasy home among others like us.Read more ›
Add to this the thematic explorations of the film -- time, grief, mystery, memory, human (and humane) frailty, the transience of all things, the genocide of political protestors during Pinochet's brutal tenure, and the search for meaning in an otherwise indifferent setting -- and you have a film that moved me beyond words. I have reviewed only a few products or books for Amazon, and generally don't place much stock in overly enthusiastic ramblings such as this one. Somehow, though, I felt compelled to comment on this film, which shed a great deal of light on a great many subjects without once becoming heavy-handed or digressive.
As the film points out, we are such stuff as the universe is made of. Stars contain the same elements as the bones of those buried in mass graves in the Atacama. The same light that ennobles the best of our intentions (an understanding of who we are as human beings) also reveals cruelty, torture, and murder on a scale that is almost impossible to understand.
And yet, all is tied together through this terrific work of filmmaking. Seeing it was, truly, a life changing experience. The final scenes are so powerful, both in terms of the human spirit and its capacity for great good in the face of true evil, that words simply can not describe the majesty they convey. See this film: you'll be a better person for having done so.
The translucent sky allows astronomers to see the boundaries of the universe,light from the past takes millions of years to reach us.The desert is also home to pre-Columbian shepherd's bones and rock carvings, and the place where Pinochet buried bodies in mass graves,following imprisonment,torture and murder.The desert is a palimpsest of the past,ossuary and observatory.Elderly women search among its stones for murdered loved ones.Balancing philosophical reflections on human memory and the matter of the stars,the calcium of our bones comes from the stars." The present doesn't exist",according to Gaspar Galaz,a young astronomer,'Now' is a mental construct.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't know what to expect when I bought this video. One part deals with the astronomers perched high on the mountain tops looking backward to the beginnings of the universe. Read morePublished 1 month ago by snobird39
Moving and cebrebral. This documentary truly shows how we are all connected universally with one another, and it provides emotional depth that is often lacking in consideration of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by James Wade
I have watched this film at least three times, and know I will watch again. The comparison of light coming from the far past (through the observatories), the less distant past, the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by RAR
A sensitive, poetic documentary about Atacama Desert, Chile, juxtaposing astronomy, archaeology, and women searching for their "disappeared."Published 8 months ago by Donald E. Groom
One of the most amazing and artistically crafted documentaries I have seen.Published 11 months ago by Mabel Valdiviezo