90 minutes, France-Germany-Chile, 2010, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema


Patricio Guzmán is Chile’s celluloid conscience, a tireless chronicler of the turbulent recent past many would now prefer to forget. His latest cinematic essay begins by musing on his own childhood love of astronomy before moving to the Atacama Desert, whose bone-dry climate and crystal-clear skies make it a magnet for cutting-edge planetary research. Here stargazers ponder the birth of creation by studying the light which has travelled to us from distant galaxies, while in the very same region archaeologists continue to unearth traces of ancient civilisations.

Yet if we explore the past to understand our present, Guzmán wonders, how come Chile is still trying to ignore the relatives searching this very same landscape for the remains of those detainees killed under the Pinochet régime? Testimonies from all concerned build into a film that’s profoundly thoughtful and equally moving. This elegant, urgent declaration of the moral imperative of memory is surely one of the year’s best films. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

If you enjoyed this film, you might be interested in attending our premiere of The City Dark, Ian Cheney’s poetic and thought-provoking documentary examining the growing problem of light pollution and the disappearing night sky – on Sunday, July 22nd at 13.00.  

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