Director: Patricio Guzmán
Talent: Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Núñez, Luís Henríquez
Release Date: 13 July 2012
Patricio Guzmán’s 2010 documentary on the Chilean desert is one of the most compellingly brilliant ever filmed, on a most fascinating subject. The Atacama desert is a hub of astronomical research, due to the exceptional visibility its sky offers to scientists. From their observatories, fort-like and pale against the bleak, sandy expanse, they study distant stars and galaxies, in earnest examination of the secrets of our universe. But the Atacama’s climate is ideal also for another purpose – the preservation of the remains of those killed by Pinochet’s regime and dumped, namelessly and unceremoniously, in the desert. The widows of these executed men search in the punishing heat every day for their lost body parts, after decades without confirmation or affirmation of the deaths of the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons that were taken from them. Gúzman draws together the scientific search for humanity’s origins and Chile’s own failure to acknowledge its recent, bloody history in a transcendent documentary that is at once provocative and deeply moving. If you missed it on the festival circuit, you have been given a second chance.