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Nostalgia for the Light

Posted by martinteller on January 21, 2012

Director Patricio Guzman starts with astronomers and archaeologists, two professions who in different ways explore the past: one sifting through the cosmos, one sifting through the vastness of the Atacama Desert of Chile.  He uses this as a springboard to examine the quests of the relatives of the victims of Pinochet’s regime, searching for the remains of their loved ones buried out in desert, scattered to the winds.  The film is reminiscent of a Herzog documentary, going off on tangents, making intriguing connections, and using poetic voiceover to muse upon the mysteries of history, memory, death and the universe.  The cinematography is often stunningly beautiful, especially when it focuses on the gorgeous light of the heavens or rays of sunlight illuminating some detail.  However, I often wondered if some particularly striking image was computer-generated, which took away from the film’s power a bit.  Still, it’s a thoughtful, meditative and often sorrowful film that draws some intriguing parallels.  Rating: Very Good


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