A documentary about two different searches conducted in the Chilean Atacama Desert: one by astronomers looking for answers about the history of the cosmos, and one by women looking for the remains of loved ones killed by Pinochet's regime.


Patricio Guzmán
9 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





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


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

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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


[first lines]
[in Spanish, using English subtitles]
Gaspar Galaz - 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 »

User Reviews

Those who have a memory are able to live in the fragile present moment. Those who have none don't live anywhere.
26 January 2012 | by lastliberal-853-253708See all my reviews

This film is not a documentary in the traditional sense. It is more a work of poetry, or a spiritual experience.

The brutal results of Pinochet's military dictatorship are meshed with the search for the origins of the universe. Both subjects deal with the past, as we only have past and future; there is no present as Augustine said many years ago.

So, astronomers are really archaeologists. They study space to discover the past. Writer/director Patricio Guzmán combines this "archaeology" with the archaeologists who search the desert for the bodies buried by Pinochet.

A fascinating story.

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France | Germany | Chile | Spain


Spanish | English

Release Date:

17 March 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nostalgia for the Light See more »

Filming Locations:

Atacama Desert, Chile See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,664, 16 January 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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