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Every Night the Universe Passes over Santiago. Transnational ‘Ecocinema’ and Visualising Environmental Histories in Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light

Parham, John and Marland, Pippa (2016) Every Night the Universe Passes over Santiago. Transnational ‘Ecocinema’ and Visualising Environmental Histories in Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light. White Rabbit: English Studies in Latin America, 12. ISSN 0719-0921

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Abstract

This paper tests the capacity of media and popular culture to articulate complex ecological ideas, carrying out an analysis of Patricio Guzmán’s 2010 documentary Nostalgia de la luz [Nostalgia for the Light]. Through applying and developing arguments involved in the study of “ecocinema”, including the concept of “flow”, the paper also considers the possibility that texts situated within a transnational media industry might articulate localized perspectives on place, nature, and people, able to resonate with a global audience. The film is set in the Atacama desert, a location which brings together cosmologists, palaeontologists, archaeologists, women searching for traces of the “disappeared”, and men who were imprisoned in the desert’s Chacabuco concentration camp – also the site of late 19th / early 20th century nitrate mining. According to Guzmán, these people are united by a common purpose: their ongoing attempt to uncover the stories of the past, from the origins of the universe to more recent social and political narratives. Through this emphasis on memory, the paper argues, Guzmán develops a radical form of nostalgia which reveals the desert’s significance not only to Chilean history but also its connection to the matter of the cosmos and to flows of global capital, a connection which implicates the film’s global audience both ecologically and socio-politically. Thus, the paper makes a case for the ecological significance of the film both in terms of the relationship it establishes between deep environmental and planetary history and a recent human history embedded in modernity, and its ability to foster a form of transnational eco-cosmopolitanism.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: media, popular culture, complex ecological ideas, analysis of Nostalgia for the Light film, ecocinema, transnational media industry, transnational ecocinema, eco-osmopolitanism, green media, media ecology, radical nostalgia, Patricio Guzmán 'Nostalgia de la luz'
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts
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Copyright Info: Creative Commons licence
Depositing User: John Parham
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 10:19
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2017 09:12
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5364

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