Revising History(s) with Nostalgia for the Light

Le réalisateur Patricio Guzmàn

This year Chili celebrates the bicentenary of its independence and the filmmaker who has devoted his career to documenting the history of his country, Patricio Guzmàn, is here to present his film Nostalgia for the Light in a Special Screening, Salle Buñuel at 19.30.
Patricio Guzmàn’s latest film initially seems a far cry from the historical panoramas for which he is famous. Nostalgia For the Light is a documentary which takes place in the Atacama desert at three thousand metres altitude. While astronomers meet there to observe the stars, this location attracts many other visitors for a very precise reason: the dryness of the soil conserves human remains intact. Aside from mummified remains and lost explorers, this earth is also the resting place for the bodies of numerous political prisoners. The film exacerbates this dualism, contrasting the astronomers searching for life beyond Earth with the broken families looking for their relatives. The political dimension is therefore once again very much present. This theme has always haunted Patricio Guzmàn’s films, ever since his debut with the trilogy The Battle for Chili, screened in Sélection Parallèle in 1975, up until Salvador Allende, presented Out of Competition in 2004.
The guiding thread of all his feature films is Chili’s national memory during the 20th century. And it is indeed this memory which is the subject of Nostalgia for the Light, a film which looks to the future (the stars), while not forgetting a painful past where the independence which is being celebrated this year was paid for in blood.