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(aka "Nostalgia de la luz" or "Nostalgie de la lumière" or "Nostalgia de la luz - Heimweh nach den Sternen")


directed by Patricio Guzmán
France/Germany/Chile 2010


The vast, arid Atacama desert in Chile is the only place on earth that resembles the surface of Mars. It was the ideal place to take in the wonders of the universe and astronomers from all over the world erected observatories across the desert surface. Local interest in astronomy was also piqued, including that of director Patricio Guzmán (THE BATTLE OF CHILE). All of this came to an end with the 1973 military coup of Augusto Pinochet, during which the study of astronomy was discouraged (it was feared that prisoners could use the constellations to navigate an escape route) and studied in secret. Not only is the Atacama littered with mummified animal life and 19th century miners, but also the scattered unmarked graves of reportedly thousands of Pinochet's executed political opponents and rebel factions. Guzman's NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT alternates between the astrologist Gaspar Calas's search into the distant past in the stars, archaeologist Lautaro Núñez's probing into the pre-Columbian life in the desert (from rock art to petrified life), and Chile's deliberately hidden recent history from the marginalization of Indians to the virtual slavery of miners at the turn of the century to the internment of Pinochet's rivals in a concentration camp (which reused the mine site buildings largely unmodified). The search into the stars and the after-effects of Pinochet's dictatorship come together with the characters of Victor González - a 29 year old "child of exile" born in Germany and now an engineer working on ALMA, the new observatory being constructed in the Atacama - and his mother who provides physical therapy for torture victims. Also interviewed is Valentina Rodríguez, who works for Chile's leading astronomy organization, and whose parents were detained and disappeared. Victor's mother and astronomer Calas separately come to the similar conclusion that the difference between these searches into the past is that the astronomers can sleep at night and begin each day with a renewed thirst for inquiry, while the victims and their families still encounter the unpunished collaborators and will likely not sleep peacefully until they have recovered the remains of their loved ones.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 17 March 2011 (USA)

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DVD Review: Icarus Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Icarus Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:29:36

1.79:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Icarus Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.79:1

Edition Details:
• Chile: A Galaxy of Problems (16:9; 32:24)
• Oscar (16:9; 10:13)
• Jose Masa, Sky Traveler (16:9; 12:49)
• Maria Teresa & the Brown Dwarf (16:9; 11:49)
• Astronomers from My Neighborhood (16:9; 14:07)

DVD Release Date: 13 September 2011

Chapters 10



Icarus' transfer of this high-definition production is interlaced, but their Region A Blu-ray (HERE) is also 1080i. The interlacing, however, is less damaging to the mesmerizing visuals than the edge enhancement which is particularly evident in the desert exteriors (particularly the straight lines of the concentration camp ruins and the observatory roofs against the desert sky). Some shots and scenes - possibly photographed in SD digital video - evince less detail than other shots featuring the same locations.

Although the cover states that the audio is "Dolby 5.1", the Spanish audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (the Blu-ray features DTS-MA 2.0 audio). The subtitles on the feature are burnt-in, but they are optional for the five short films (note: you must select to turn the subtitles on or off before the disc will allow you to play any of the shorts). Although not as well known as Guzman's films on Pinochet, the shorts are evidence of the director's intense interest in astronomy that resulted in the feature. Several of the same participants in the feature appear in the shorts, and they all have bits of footage in common; however, each of the shorts is too focused on its own subject matter to be considered deleted or extended scenes from the feature.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Icarus Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC


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