The desert of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile is the world’s driest. Some parts of it has not seen rain for years. It is somehow poetic that such a backwater is the best place in the world for watching stars. There are hardly ever any clouds above the desert, and no city light pollution in the middle of nowhere.

Gazing up at the night sky raises the basic questions in life: Who are we? And what on earth are we doing here? The poetic film Cielo is an ode to the night sky and to the people who have dedicated their lives to its contemplation. There is no differentiation here – astrophysicists as well as representatives of indigenous peoples get to tell their own version of why the Atacama night sky enchants them time and time again.

The camera is repeating a pulse of some kind, a pulse to the beat of which stars are born, stars die, and the observatory antennas dance in the empty desert.The extremely sensitive instruments of the Atacama Desert observatory help seek answers to big questions, such as the formation of stars and planets. An astrophysicist asks the most important question of all: When we have all this technology and all these opportunities, why do we spend our time destroying each other?

Lotta Jokinen / Translation: Ulrika Sundelin

Language: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English

  • Name in Original Language: Cielo
  • Director: Alison McAlpine
  • Country: Canada, Chile
  • Year: 2018
  • Length: 78 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Benjamin Echazarreta
  • Editing: Andrea Chignoli
  • Music: Phillippe Lauzier
  • Production: Alison McAlpine (Second Sight Pictures), Carmen Garcia (Argus Films) / Second Sight Pictures


  • Cinema Sõprus: Sunday, 03.02 - 17:30