In Nostalgia for the light, Patriccia Guzmann was utilizing plenty of still camera shots of landscape, galaxy and objects with a few subtle moments. Following the slow and peaceful voice-over, this established the fundamental key of entire film: poetic graphic and story-telling. To me this is also a method that Guzmann used to integrate irrelevant stories about geology, archaeology, astronomy and history into one large story, to let them share one rhythm for eliminating the contradictions, and then building further connections among the stories. Some photography and old footage were used to demonstrate the past moments of history, some of them were scientific images such as galaxy and minerals.
The camera only facing to people directly when interview occurs, most of them are mid-shots, all of the interviewees deliver the content in calm tones which matching the speed of film. Other than the part of interview, the camera seems intend to avoid shooting the front face of people but more likely focus on objects and environment. For example, we only see the backs or silhouettes of people when they were not being interviewed.
The framing was well considered in this film, all of the landscape shots were beautifully composed that could compare favourably with professional landscape photos. The warm colour tone enhanced the feeling of memories to past people and historic events.
The atmosphere sounds in this film were minimised so we can only hear one sound (expect people talking) without too much noise. The appropriate uses of music is another thing worth to mention, for example, the grave orchestral music starts when we see the boundless desert, it highlights the desperate and inanimate feelings of the Atacama Desert, enhanced the narrative.
Lastly, I was very impressed by how Guzmann deals with two different kinds of histories-that of the stars, our origins as matter and energy, and the history of a very specific political situation in Chile, and put them in one film. He made Atacama Desert becomes an important character in the film, by exploring what exist in the desert: there are mines of salt and minerals, there are petroglyphs and mummies, and there are also dinosaur remains in the desert, so we have geology, archaeology, and astronomy all in the same place. The astronomers look for the past of eons ago, the archaeologists are looking for the past of 10,000 years ago, and the women are looking 30 years into the past. So this territory is a great set for the film.