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Nostalgia for the Light

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.

'NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is not only Guzmáan's masterpiece; it is one of the most beautiful cinematographic efforts we have seen for a long time. Its complex canvas is woven with the greatest simplicity. For forty years, Patricio Guzman has had to struggle every inch of the way, with a vivid memory and intimate suffering to reach this work of cosmic serenity, of luminous intelligence, with a sensitivity that could melt stone. At such a level, the film becomes more than a film. An insane accolade to mankind, a stellar song for the dead, a life lesson. Silence and respect.' -Jacques Mandelbaum, Le Monde

'Stunningly beautiful. I don't know how you can put more into a film, or make one that's more deeply moving.' -Stuart Klawans, The Nation

'An extraordinary film about the unknown and the unknowable.' -Sight and Sound Magazine

'An amazing film! Nostalgia for the Light gave me goosebumps so many times I lost count.' -Andy 'Copernicus' Howell, Ain't It Cool News

'Deeply Affecting!' Critics Pick -New York Magazine

'Such a moving masterpiece... NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is Guzman's leap into a different sort of cinema: a philosophical treatise that is as stunning to the eye as it is disturbing to the brain... I was enthralled. So was the audience around me.' -B. Ruby Rich, SF360

**** 'NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT may just be the most profound movie I have ever seen.' -Peter Howell, Toronto Star

**** 'The ideas in NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT are nearly as big as the Big Bang, but Guzman's wise and lovely film maintains a careful balance between matters both macro and micro.' -Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly

'The film is gorgeous, purposefully slow, almost a meditation. Guzman 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

***1/2 'Combining politics and science in a stirring visual essay... Highly Recommended' -Video Librarian


Main credits

Guzmán, Patricio (screenwriter)
Guzmán, Patricio (film director)
Guzmán, Patricio (film editor)
Sachse, Renate (film producer)
Galaz, Gaspar (interviewee)
Saavedra, Vicky (interviewee)
Preston, George Worrall (interviewee)

Other credits

Director of photography, Katell Djian; original music, Miguel Miranda and José Miguel Tobar; editors, Patricio Guzmán and Emmanuelle Joly.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Environmental Film Festivals
History (World)
Human Rights
Latin America
On 35mm
South America
US and Canadian Broadcast Rights


Atacama; Atacama desert; observatories; telescopes; forensics; astronomy; cosmos; universe; milky way; galaxy; galaxies; disappeared; chilean; Patricio Guzman; Nostalgia for the Light; Documentry; film; video; best documentary; "Nostalgia for the Light"; Icarus Films,doc; history; science; sociss

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