Film Club

Film club is all about celebrating Chilean film in all its forms. From shorts, to animation, documentary and full length features and classics.

This week: Nostalgia de la Luz by Patricio Guzmán. This documentary essay discusses the special properties of the Atacama Desert. On the one hand, astronomers flock there because of the clear night skies, and on the other, archaeologists can find preserved remains due to the arid conditions. However, this desert is also home to some of the darkest of the country’s secrets. Following the Pinochet dictatorship in 1973 thousands of Chileans were tortured and made to ‘disappear’. Some were buried in the desert.

Nostalgia de la Luz is a timely choice given that the US has recently declassified documents relating the Nixon’s covert campaign to remove the democratically elected Salvador Allende from office. In the film, Guzmán sees the Atacama as a ‘gateway’ to the past, enabling scientists to discover the origins of mankind and the universe, and simultaneously points to a seemingly paradoxical reluctance in Chile to understand the fate of thousands of victims of Pinochet’s death squads.

The film has won countless awards including the 2011 Premio Altazor and was listed in The Telegraph as one of the top 10 documentaries of the decade. Almost inevitbaly, it has also brought with it a certain amount of controversy, with a school censoring it and a television director radically altering its presentation. Guzmán called the latter “unacceptable sabotage”.


Title: Nostalgia de la Luz
Director: Patricio Guzmán
Year: 2010
Country: Chile
Language: Spanish
Subtitles: English
Running time: 90 minutes


From Chile’s Atacama Desert, astronomers seek the origins of the universe and achaeologists look for clues to our beginnings on earth. At the same time women are still searching the desert for remains of their loved ones, executed by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. 

Nostalgia de la Luz


Nostalgias de la luz – Patricio Guzman from Nielsen Matias on Vimeo.


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