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Nostalgia For The Light [DVD]
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Chile s Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth. Atop its 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 Desert 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 11, 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.
Gradually the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the Chilean women come together.
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Top Customer Reviews
This was the real story. The reality of western complicity in a brutal regime that murdered thousands. The fact that having so demonstrably stated that 'the holocaust' should never be allowed to happen again, that it has, in several countries, with mass genocide. The Chilean military dictatorship destroyed lives, got rid of bodies, and was applauded and allowed to continue to do this. The women who tell of their mission to find scraps of bones is transfixing, as is the story of a prison inmate who was able to retain exact measurements of the camp in his mind in order to recreate it in later years, should he be afforded the chance.
This is a magnificent film, and I recommend it to everyone who loves photography, and who wants to hear real people telling us of inhumane actions.
The connection between astronomy and archeology is fascinating, who both share the study of the past. Huge observatories were built in the desert by a worldwide group of scientific organisations over many decades, and its still used today. We see stunning shots of the solar system, even the desert looks like part of another planet. The archaeologists are not far away, as rock carvings from pre-Columbian shepherds that are more than 10,000 years old can be seen.
But its a third group of dreamers that elevates this film to something much more profound, by investigating Chile's recent history. For over 30 years, women have been combing the desert for remains that nobody would have imagined. The Atacama desert was also the location of the Chacabuco mines, founded in 1924 but abandoned within a decade. It became notorious as it was turned into concentration camps by Chilean dictator General Pinochet in the 1970′s. Thousands of opponents of the Pinochet regime were murdered at this camp, buried in mass graves in the desert and in the sea. The wives and sisters of the disappeared, now old women, have continued their daunting task of finding their loved ones remains.Read more ›
A lot of the movie has to do with variants of how the light shines on things in this filmmaker's native Chile. And how that in turn seems to affect everything and everyone (clearest skies on the planet for star gazing). There are also harrowing passages on the 'disappeared' and the women who go out into known burial sites in the desert to search for the remains of their loved ones - and never give up on them.
However - if you're buying on BLU RAY - British fans should be aware that the 'US' disc on Icarus Films is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).
Luckily it was given a release on this side of the pond (Region B) so Patricio Guzman's poetic story of the Chilean lost and the stars in the heavens can be yours for a reasonable sum.
More a story of longing than a film (trying to understand the past as it relates to the present) - "Nostalgia For The Light" is a gracefully judged peek into a world that we just don't know and it will linger with you long after its gone...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable, important, finely crafted, and beautiful film - one to share and to watch many times over. - also the films in the bonus section.Published 4 months ago by David Wicks
This is an amazing, rich and astonishing film. I've watched it a few times, including using it for teaching, and it reveals more layers at each viewing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Andrew Patrizio
A visually arresting documentary that tells its story through a minimalist approach, weaving the 3 core stories (astronomy, archaeology, the pinochet years) together in a poetic... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rich J Wilson
A difficult subject handled amazingly well and without over sentiment. The story doesn't need that kind of embellishment. It's just compelling. It made me want to go to chile. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jonny L
This is a brilliant documentary - the kind of thing most people never hear about, let alone see. It poetically entwines two ideas - looking up at the stars and down into the earth... Read morePublished 22 months ago by TR