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Epstein, O.B. (2013). Nostalgia for the Light, Director Patricio Guzman (2010). Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 7(2):218-219.

(2013). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7(2):218-219

Film Reviews

Nostalgia for the Light, Director Patricio Guzman (2010)

Review by:
Orit Badouk Epstein

Would we ever consider a connection between astronomy and trauma, between the notion that the present time is a mental invention, a linguistic construction and that we really belong to the Milky Way and not just Earth? In this poetic and unique documentary, narrated as an essay, the director Patricio Guzman, through the lenses of the biggest telescope in the world, examines a link between astronomy and atrocity in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Loss seems to symbolise itself in all forms and shapes. This extraordinary documentary looks at the image from the interior of a telescope, observing a magnificent visual feast where the stars can be seen brightly and clearly. Simultaneously in the same spot in the highest desert and driest place on earth, where no rainfall has ever been recorded, we are shown how astronomers investigate the sky while women sift through the sand for evidence of loved ones who were murdered by Pinochet's brutal dictatorship.

The film emphasises that astronomy is really a study of the past, telling us where we come from and where we might be heading to, in Guzman's words: “It's a philosophical reflection on the relationship between human life and the life of the cosmos, on human memory and the memory of the stars—of infinity.” He explains: “As human beings, we are the inheritors of generations upon generations, going back to prehistory, and the matter of our bodies is a matter of the stars. We belong to the Milky Way—that's our home, not just the Earth.” When interviewing Gaspar Galaz, a softly spoken astronomer, we are informed: “The present doesn't exist.” The combination of the speed of light and human reflexes means that everything that we perceive and experience happened in the past.


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