Nostalgia for the light

DVD - 2011 - Spanish
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Nostalgia for the light
Director Patricio Guzman travels to the driest place on earth, Chile's Atacama Desert, where astronomers examine distant galaxies, archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations, and women dig for the remains of disappeared relatives.

Published: [United States] : Icarus Films, [2011]
Branch Call Number: DVD 522.1983 NOS
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (90 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in.


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Shown in August 2012.

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Dec 19, 2014
  • NicLaBor rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I had expected "Nostalgia for the Light" to be a documentary about astronomy in the Atacama Desert in Chile. For a long (beautiful!) introduction the movie lived up to this (assumed) promise. Then a shift in subject occurred – suddenly this quiet poem of moving images turns into an insistent portrait of women searching for the missing bodies of their relatives who were abducted, tortured and killed by the military junta. The movie is brilliantly filmed. The whole beginning sequence unfolds its entire power of awe and serenity watched on a large screen. It wraps the viewer in security and peace, before the main message sharply cuts through: Don’t forget! Guzman interviews an astronomer who explains the continuous development of stronger telescopes which enables humanity to gather ever more precise data about the universe searching for knowledge about the past. He also interviews a survivor of a concentration camp, an architect who is able to meticulously remember the lay-out of all the buildings he was brought to, thereby making the environment of this crime against humanity tactile. In parallel sequences, frail women in the last third of their lives walk the desert, their posture ducked, eyes firmly on the ground, looking for the tiniest pieces of bones. These bones may be all that is left of their siblings and children whose bodies had been thrown out of helicopters to get rid of them.

This documentary is not only about sense-making of traumatic events of scale. "Nostalgia for the Light" stresses the meaning of yesterday’s events for the presence and future. Today’s young generation has a voice in this movie. They are survivors, whose parents were killed when they were children, they live their lives despite of the early loss. They are scientists whose research is building future’s knowledge. It is their decision how to convey the past to the next generation. One wonders: What has society learned? How does the past shape the future?

Feb 18, 2013
  • 3romm3la rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I don't think you can enjoy this documentary unless you're interested in astronomy, Latin American history and politics. Each one plays an equal part in this doc.
I think trying to compare the astronomers' quest to discover all there is to know about space and the relatives' search for the remains of loved ones murdered by the Pinochet regime didn't work. There simply is no comparison.

Feb 09, 2013
  • ms_mustard rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Chilean Patricio Guzman's documentary about astronomers in Chile's Atacama Desert, Nostalgia for the Light, led me to his other documentaries: Salvador Allende, A Film and The Pinochet Case. I recommend all 3.

Oct 22, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 4 stars out of 5.


Jun 18, 2012
  • Ron@Ottawa rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This documentary tells two stories - one of an ongoing search into the outer space and the other for remains of loved ones in the same desert which houses the world's largest telescopes. The two stories appear to go in parallel, but, as we see in the film, they are connected in some ways as well. It is definitely one of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time. It satifies you on two fronts - the quest for knowledge on the ultimate frontier, and the quest for answers to both the good and the bad sides of humanity.

Feb 09, 2012
  • Glencoe_Mike rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Solemn documentary contrasting the Chilean political prisoners and their families with the astronomers and archaeologists who now inhabit the area where they were kept prisoner.


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