The Cordillera of Dreams (Patricio Guzmán, 2019)

Over the last decade, documentarist Patricio Guzmán has made films of remarkable beauty about subject matter of extreme ugliness. That ugliness is the brutality of the Pinochet dictatorship which held sway in Guzman’s native Chile between 1973 and 1990: the arrests, torture and executions, the psychic damage done to a generation, whether they stayed in their country or, like Guzmán and so many others, went into exile. The beauty lies in the metaphors that Guzmán has explored in his last three films, their elegance and aptness, and the graceful indirectness with which he leads us from the images that are his point of departure to the political anger and urge for redemption that are his ultimate themes. In Nostalgia for the Light (2010), Guzmán begins with the radio telescopes of Chile’s Atacama desert and a meditation on astronomy as a national…

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