For his new film master director Patricio Guzman, 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.
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
The film's passionate insistence on remembrance lends it a moral as well as a metaphysical weight. Mr. Guzman's belief in eternal memory is an astounding leap of faith.Stephen Holden, New York Times, 03.17.2011
A film of rare visual poetry that's simultaneously personal, political and philosophical, it's a genuine art film that's also unpretentious and easygoing.Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 04.21.2011
Has the overwhelming power of an outrage to decency.Richard Brody, New Yorker, 03.13.2011
Guzman offers a poetic narrative that celebrates the searches and insists on the moral obligation to remember Chile's not-too-distant past.Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle, 04.22.2011