Friday, June 03, 2011

Screening of "Nostalgia for the LIght" on Monday night

It is rare to come across a film that is thoughtful, hopeful, stunningly beautiful, and touches on some of the big questions about what makes us human. Nostalgia for the Light is one such film. The documentary film is set in the Atacama desert in northern Chile - one of the driest places on the planet. The desert is one of the best places to do astronomy, and over the last four decades, astronomers from all over the world have built cutting-edge telescopes in the area. But this desert is also the location where the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, held political prisoners and then later dumped bodies of many of his opponents. Twenty-five years have passed since the end of Pinochet regime, and yet, some women are still searching for the remains of their loved ones - sometimes in the shadows of the great observatories. The movie looks at the way we use our past to answer questions about life. It is a beautiful poetic essay!

Nostalgia for the Light has a small distribution. It won't be in theaters for long. If it shows up in your town, please go and see it (it will be in Boston - Brattle Theater in Cambridge - for one week starting from June 10th).

We will have a special screening - one night only - at Amherst Cinema this coming Monday (June 6th) night at 7:30pm. This movie will also serve as the inaugural film in the new Science on Screen series (more details to come). I will be introducing the movie and then field Q&A after the screening.

 If you are in driving distance, don't miss this opportunity to see this film on the big screen. It is worth it - and as you can tell, I cannot recommend it enough. Here is the announcement of the screening and a trailer below that:



Unexpected pairings of films with experts in science, technology and medicine.
First in a series:

Introduction and Q&A to follow with Dr. Salman Hameed of Hampshire College. 
For his new film master director Patricio Guzm├ín, famed for his political documentaries (THE BATTLE OF CHILE, THE PINOCHET CASE), travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: those of Pre-Columbian mummies; 19th century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973.  So while astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies, at the foot of the mountains, women, surviving relatives of the disappeared whose bodies were dumped here, search, even after twenty-five years, for the remains of their loved ones, to reclaim their families’ histories. Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey.
Salman Hameed is an astronomer and Assistant Professor of Integrated Science & Humanities at Hampshire College. He works on issues related to science and religion, including analyzing reconciliation efforts between astronomers and native Hawaiians over telescopes on top of sacred Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is a meditation on Time and Memory and how we make meaning out of history. Dr. Hameed will talk about the interaction of science, culture and politics at some of the best observatory locations in the world.
Here is the trailer:


Mohamed said...

Salman. Thanks for the heads-up---and for a great review! I’ll definitely look this one up.

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