One of the most visionary, beautiful and mesmerising documentaries of the last two decades shifts between a sense of wonder at the vast expanse of the universe, documenting the pinnacle of human scientific endeavour and the detailing the action of a ruthless dictatorship.
Patricio Guzmán travelled 10,000 feet above sea level to the Atacama desert, the driest desert on earth. Here, the sky is so translucent that it allows astronomers to see the boundaries of our universe. But beneath the dry ground lies a universe of human history: pre-Colombian mummies; explorers and miners; and most recently, the remains of Augusto Pinochet’s disappeared political prisoners. Women sift the desert soil for the bones of their loved ones, while archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilisations and astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies.
Breathtaking it its scope, Guzmán’s poetic cinematic essay manages to present the history of a nation and land whilst remaining profoundly personal. This is filmmaking at its best.
★★★★★ "A truly eye-opening experience" - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
★★★★★ - Tim Robey, The Telegraph
★★★★★ "Has a tragic grandeur that really is very remarkable" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian