Star rating – 9/10
This is a spectacular, moving, and totally original documentary from Patricio Guzmán that really is worth seeking out. The concept sounds a bit unlikely, as it covers two seemingly totally unrelated subjects.
The astronomers of Chile study the starry skies above the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, for the mysteries of space. And desperate relatives search amongst the same territory, only this time below the parched earth for the Disappeared - those people who were murdered for their political views under the military dictatorship of General Pinochet that came to power in 1973, after the overthrow of the elected left wing Government and murder of its President Salvador Allende. For the same desert was the site of many of the notorious concentration camps, brilliantly sketched by one architect who was held prisoner there, and kept every detail in his head.
This film contains simply stunning cinematography, with some of the most beautiful and barren places on the globe, and contains images of the solar system that match the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci for sheer glory, and majesty.
And the quest for answers, either in the solar system and far flung galaxies; or for what happened to brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters all those years ago is mesmerising and moving. This is a wonderful film that is awe inspiring and heartbreaking, but ultimately carries a message of hope for humanity.