The Atacama desert sky is so clear that scientists can see out into the universe. It is also a place where the heat preserves human remains. As astronomers gather in search of alien life, so do a group of women, digging for their relatives who disappeared under Chile’s dictatorship.
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Guzmán finds new methods of excavation and new ways in which to combine found materials, the manifest metaphor—the dialogue within and between in his films—ultimately exemplifying that when correlations are causations, in time’s current and Guzman’s body of work, nothing ever really ends.
Theretofore his most formally ambitious film, Nostalgia is more overtly philosophical than his previous films, and feels like a thematic culmination… Within this biting irony, Guzman meditates on the ideas of memory, history and existence that flow as undercurrents through his entire body of work.
A film in which the author of one of the most visceral of vérité documents reveals a cosmic perspective that’s also evident in some of the short films in Icarus’s box – and the aspiring sci-fi writer is reunited with the indefatigable chronicler of Chilean history.
Harrowing & beautiful. Guzmán's lyrical direction confronts Chile's tormented past while staring at the cosmos. Highly allegorical, topics so divergent in nature & anchored in different pasts travel entwined equally sharing the same vital essence. Topics that paradoxically Chile is so reluctant to face in equal terms. It is a film of contrasts, a mesmerising look at the stars to forget the fact that we are bleeding.
Watch this documentary, excellently made. Guzmán makes an excellent metaphysical conceit between astronomy and the search for the victims of Pinochet's regime. Poetic, beautiful and very moving, a great Mubi find :)
A beautiful and crushing documentary woven out of a complex fabric of conceits: the stars like the sand of the atamcama; bones like the surface of the planets, whose minerals they're made from; space and earth as sedimentations of the past, living on through a fleeting present; and the pain, and the peace, that can be found in our search through both. The binding gravity of the film being the aftermath of Pinochet.
A film of visual beauty and seemingly disparate connections. "It isn't simply that Nostalgia for the Light is moving: it has a tragic grandeur that really is very remarkable. It is deeply intelligent, intensely and painfully political, and yet attempts, and succeeds, somehow to transcend politics and perhaps even history itself." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
The light of the Big Bang illuminates the embers of hope that fuel the marginalized struggle of Pinochet's victims to unearth the past. Through this film we see that despite tremendous beauty and inspiration the promise of science and technology must begin to engage the unresolved excesses of political power. We also see that scientists with compassion and sympathy have a place in this process of redemptive hope.
This Proustian meditation on memory and the past somehow mangages to marry scientific discovery with the tragedy surrounding Chileans killed by the Pinochet dictatorship. As one scientist interviewed remarks, this is a comparison of unlike things, making it all the more remarkable that it works so beautifully.
Guzmán offers no answers to the tragedies befallen the Atacama Desert; he only attempts to provide consolation through the regularity and awe of the act of searching itself. Most of the film’s heart is held in long, wandering shots of breathtaking galaxies interspersed with desert vistas. Nostalgia for the Light attains something nearly transcendent - the overwhelming feeling that we’re all much too small to matter.