Nostalgia for the Light – Chile Documentary & Allende – Sept 11, 1973

Nostalgia for the Light

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile — the setting of Patricio Guzmán’s transfixing cinematic essay “Nostalgia for the Light” — is a place where heaven and earth converge. Or some might say heaven and hell.

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Patricio Guzmán has insisted that memory be restored. He has spent much of his career as a filmmaker digging deep into historical memory, beginning with the magnificent La batalla de Chile (The Battle of Chile, 1975-79), a street-level view of the coup itself at it unfolded. This remarkable film, in my view the best documentary every made, paid a high price for its existence and is a great expression of human solidarity – one of its valiant cinematographers, Leonardo Henrichsen, was shot and killed as he operated his camera. Jorge Muller Silva, perhaps the most celebrated photographer associated with the film, was taken prisoner by Pinochet and executed. The late Chris Marker, who now seems central to the international left of the postwar period, helped give birth to the film by donating thousands of feet of 35mm film. Guzmán followed this project with Chile, la memoria obstinada (Chile, Obstinate Memory, 1997), Le cas Pinochet (The Pinochet Case, 2001), Salvador Allende (2004) (the last two covered in other CTEQ reviews) and Guzmán’s most beautiful – and vexing – film to date, Nostalgia de la luz (Nostalgia for the Light, 2010). Some have accused Guzmán of monomania, which may be a measure of how low humanity has sunk, if we are indeed so unable to spot a truly heroic artist.

  • Allende September 11 1973
    (See a video excerpt of Ken Loach Chile Sept 11)

  • Democracy Now.. Chiean Coup 1973 (Amy Goodman)

  • Pinochet victim widow fights for justice
    Missing was directed by Coata Gavras.

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