Nostalgia For The Light
SCIENCE ON SCREEN:
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 Guzmán, 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.