Isabel Allende will introduce and discuss a special screening of filmmaker Patricio Guzmán's poetic documentary about Chile's Atacama Desert and its significance for astronomy, archaeology and historical memory. More than 10,000 feet above sea level, the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth, its thin atmosphere and negligible humidity making it a magnet for astronomers, an ideal location for observatories and an important archive of pre-Columbian civilization. But it was also the site of a concentration camp created in the 1970s by the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, and today not only scientists wander there, but also mothers and relatives looking for the remains of political prisoners who "disappeared." Veteran Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán has dedicated much of his career to the remembrance of events following the military coup of September 11, 1973, and this personal and beautiful film essay has, in the words of The New York Times, "a moral as well as a metaphysical weight." In Spanish with English subtitles. Writer/Narrator/Director: Patricio Guzmán. (Chile 2010) 90 min. plus discussion.
Born in Chile and based in Marin County, novelist and essayist Isabel Allende is one of the most honored writers of our time.