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Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
"Nostalgia de la luz" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,538 users   Metascore: 85/100
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In Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body ... See full summary »


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Title: Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

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Cast overview:
Gaspar Galaz ...
Himself - Astronomer
Lautaro Núñez ...
Himself - Archeologist
Luís Henríquez ...
Miguel Lawner ...
Himself - Architect
Victor González ...
Himself - Engineer
Vicky Saaveda ...
Violeta Berrios ...
George Preston ...
Himself - Astronomer
Valentina Rodríguez ...


In Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body parts of loved ones, dumped unceremoniously by Pinochet's regime. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Drama


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Release Date:

17 March 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nostalgia da Luz  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
[in Spanish, using English subtitles]
Himself - Astronomer: [voiceover] The old German telescope, that I've seen once again after so many years, is still working in Santiago Chile. I owe my passion for astronomy to it. These objects, which could have come from my childhood home, remind me of that far off moment when one thinks one has left childhood behind. At that time, Chile was a haven of peace isolated from the world. Santiago slept in the foothills of the Cordillera, detached from the rest of the ...
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Edited into P.O.V.: Nostalgia for the Light (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful and moving film.
6 August 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Chile's immense Atacama desert is the setting for this stunning documentary that looks at the parallel between astronomers and relatives searching for remains of loved ones.

We are firstly greeted with an array of huge vistas of space, images taken from the various telescopes trained on the universe. They are glorious to look at and so huge in scale they make you feel insignificant. As the film progresses we are introduced to a new story, that of The Disappeared, the thousands of people who went missing during the years of Chile's Pinochet regime in the 70's. We meet relatives who still hope that the remains of their loved ones will be found, so they can finally be laid to rest. Pinochet had a series of concentration camps in the Atacama desert, once they were salt mines. Prisoners were killed and their remains scattered through the desert. How many, or exactly where, is something unknown. For decades, relatives have come to the desert and spent countless days digging and searching for remains, body parts, fragments of bones. Occasionally remains are found, a closure for somebody somewhere.

The relatives we meet are full hope that they will find the remains of the loved one missing for over 30yrs. They long to have that knowledge, that piece of mind and that's why they return. It is devastating to hear these people, all women, talk. They talk of the hope they have at the start of each day and the despair that takes over after a fruitless day. They talk of being able to die at peace if they find their loved one. The idea that in modern times such atrocities were committed and that even today such little is known is so disturbing, showing the true horrors that humanity can commit. Yet through this horror, there is hope, small groups of people continue the fight to find loved ones and recover the truth.

The film draws on the parrallel that these two groups, the relatives and the star gazers lead simliar lives. They are both searching, searching for truth, for understanding. Both are working in the past, in that images from space are from the past, with light reaching us after something has happened, the relatives relive the past everyday hoping for some revelation. Somehow, despite the very obvious differences there is connection. Much of the connection and the film itself comes from the idea of space and scale. Footage of the Atacama shows it's immensity, small dots of humans work their way across tiny areas of a seemingly endless expanse. Mountains rise up, a toy like train crawls across the land. Even the telescopes are immense, the buildings they stand in, the mechanisms that run them are simply huge. The images, so huge and almost overwhelming fill the screen, just as the huge task that those searching for remains, searching for truth, fills the heart.

It is a beautifully made film, that is at once both fascinating and immensely sad, but offers hope that perhaps we live in a better time and that people are have been able to help keep the past alive.

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