The film is a heroic while beautiful documentary by Patricio Guzman who has been long popular around the world for his documentaries of Chilean struggles for freedom and democracy in 1970’s. His “Battle of Chile” made between 1975 to 1979 in three parts and his documentary “Salvador Allende” in 2004 from his election to the presidency until the coup by the dictator general Pinoche who put Chile into the darkness for decades, has already made Guzman a political spokesman of his country at least on the screen. “Nostalgia for the Light” is another heroic documentary exposing the mass crimes of Pinoche many years before through the search of the families of the victims who were murdered and buried in the Altacama Desert in Chile. This nostalgia happens and shown on the screen by Guzman elegantly under the enormous starry lights of the desert that is known globally and is used as the site for the observation and studies of universe by international astronomers with their huge observatory and telescope.
The parallel between the astronomers searching for the human’s origin and the women who still after decades have not stopped searching for the remains of their murdered beloveds, makes this documentary a masterpiece and a story needed to be told and depicted on the screen. Guzmán narrates the documentary himself that include interviews and commentary from the relatives of the victims, astronomers, archeologists and geologists. The vast Atacama Desert at a high altitude, red and dry like the surface of Mars is also a graveyard of abundant remnants of pre-historic beings like dinasaures, mollusks, and also Indian carvings, mummified remains six different cultures, and even meteorites. All these remote archeological remains are mixed with a near past remains of body parts and pieces of murdered victims of democracy fighters that found by the relatives such as a woman who finds her brother’s foot still in his shoes, a part of his forehead and skull.
A Brown spot of Shame on the face of Earth:
The film opens by showing an image of the Altacama Desert on earth from a space view, asserting it as a small brown patch or dirt spot on the human’s history. In this driest spot on earth, the astronomers from around the world have generated the biggest telescope and gathered to study the universe above and our origin. While the world scientists are in love with the Chilean’s sky to find the human’s origin, a woman who searches the desert for the remains of her murdered beloved, pleas that the telescope for a moment look deep into the earth below.
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The Greatest films of all time: 96.Nostalgia for the Light (Chile/France/Germany/Spain) (2010)