I’ve been under the weather so have spent the weekend indoors reading or watching. I just finished watching a beautiful documentary called Nostalgia for the Light for the second time this weekend. It is one of those films you feel the need to watch again, not just for the visual beauty, but for the searching questions raised by astronomers, archaeologists and those affected by the coup. It’s a very sad film but also very beautiful…if that’s possible. I think it is.
It made me think of other documentaries I’ve seen in the past few years which have really moved me and made me ponder. I remember thinking that if a cinema wanted to put on a perfect double bill of documentaries that Cave of Forgotten dreams, Werner Herzog’s beautiful exploration of the oldest known cave paintings in Southern France and Into Eternity, a film about Onkolo’s nuclear waste repository and the challenge of keeping it sealed for 100,000 years, would be an amazing combination.
After watching Nostalgia for the Light I can’t help feeling it ties in with similar themes. Cave of Forgotten Dreams looks to the past and sees us stumbling across drawings from another time and trying to decipher their meaning. Into Eternity imagines what it would be like for future generations to stumble across a past (nuclear waste) that we don’t necessarily want to be discovered and how it would be interpreted. Nostalgia for the Light looks at the past astronomers search for in the skies to find the origins of the universe, the past archaeologists search for in the desert which preserves so much and the more recent past which others do not necessarily want us to find (the bodies of political prisoners buried in the Atacama desert) but which relatives of lost loved ones will continue to search for until they find it.