Eye For Film >> Movies >> Cielo (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Chile's Atacama desert is the perfect vantage point from which to study the stars, the lack of light pollution affording a view of the heavens in all their magnificent glory. It's the sort of poetry in motion that was meant to be viewed on the big screen and Alison McAlpine and her cinematographer Benjamin Echazarreta let us linger on it. Their timelapse photography allows us to admire the dance of the stars, as shooting streaks splash about or simply appreciate the immensity of blue sky in the daytime.
McAlpine is not content for this to simply be a nature documentary, however, aiming to dig for deeper connections between the desert sky and those who study, and live and work in tandem with it. She talks to astronomers, those who make their livelihood collecting algae, miners and others about their sense of connection to the cosmos.
While some of these interactions prove fruitful - such as a woman trying to explain the concept of gravity to her husband or a man recounting a desert myth - these segments are hit and miss. When documentarian Patricio Guzmán considered this desert and its connections in Nostalgia For The Light, he wisely took a step back to let the story unfold. In contrast, McAlpine is so eager that we experience the same sense of joy that she over-editorialises, offering voice-over observations that are more distracting than deep.
Although the night sky is, indeed, awe-inspiring, McAlpine's argument never shines as brightly she wants it to.Reviewed on: 04 Jul 2018
If you like this, try:Nostalgia For The Light