Written, directed and narrated by Alison McAlpine, Cielo is a contemplation of the sky—night, day and twilight. But, not just any sky, the sky above the Atacama Desert, Chile—one of the driest, clearest places on Earth. By virtue of these qualities, this desert is home to several observatories, their staffs, and a few seemingly indigenous people of the desert.
McAlpine interviews astronomers and a few of the populace of the Atacama desert, each interviewee evoking a unique world view. As the film’s cinematic images flow—a few with music, most with silence— and the interviewees share their diverse world views, viewers are captivated with awe. Covering both the etheric and chthonic, McAlpine arrives at existential questions beyond the sensational beauty of the sky and the haunting rain-free desert.
Observatories’ ability to receive light from the cosmos is hampered by human generated light. The enlightening of our world via human light is as much an endarkening of the worlds beyond our atmosphere. We see our world illuminated at night, and lose sight of the multiverse. In lieu of purchasing a ticket to outer space, or to visiting the Atacama Desert, Cielo is your best bet to see the virtually unencumbered night sky.
Cielo has received at least five well-deserved film festival awards.