The Cordillera of Dreams
The final part of acclaimed filmmaker Patricio Guzmán’s documentary portrait of Chile and its people is a spellbinding visual feast.
Time, memory, the landscape of a country and its people’s history have rarely been drawn with such passion, sensitivity and intelligence as Patricio Guzman has done with his extraordinary trilogy of Nostalgia for the Light, The Pearl Button and his latest work. If the first film drew on the Atacama Desert and the night sky above it to balance the story of individual lives with our place in the universe, and The Pearl Button explored people’s interaction with Chile’s waterways and coastline, The Cordillera of Dreams explores the eponymous province and its mountainous terrain, one part of the Andes mountain range – the vast series of peaks that travel like a warped spine through the continent. They are the solid foundation of Guzman’s youth; a contrast to the upheaval his country faced during the years that Augusto Pinochet was in power. And yet their presence, isolating Chile from the rest of the continent, is also a metaphor for the travails the population has endured, seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. It’s this lyricism in Guzman’s work, his endless fascination with the relationship between humanity and the world it occupies that makes his film so remarkable, and the trilogy as a whole one of the towering achievements of contemporary cinema.