REVIEWS

“Cielo: A beautiful film!! Photography, sound, structure, subject matter - enough to lift the spirits out of any earthly trough. A moving film in all senses of that word.” - Walter Murch

“A rapturous act of cinematic contemplation. Should entrance all those who enter its unique atmosphere. Breathtaking time-lapse images of the sky. Vistas… (that) convey the ecstatic and daunting beauty of our universe. Conveys the sky’s profound relationship to memory, family, spirituality, history and heritage. This majestic movie… looks up in order to look within.”- Nick Schager, Variety

“One of the Best Documentaries of 2018... A cinematic rumination on the majesty of everything that surrounds us.”- Esquire

"Il y a plus de poésie que de science dans Cielo, plus de climats éthérés que de cartes détaillées, la cinéaste assumant une double fascination : celle pour ce firmament unique au monde, que la folie urbaine et industrielle n’a pas encore altéré (mais pour combien de temps ?), et celle pour ses rares habitants qui, contrairement à la vaste majorité d’entre nous, préfèrent lever la tête plutôt que de la pencher. Eux n’ont que faire d’un téléphone intelligent, car un océan d’étoiles les submerge et ils veulent être à l’écoute de leur murmure" - André Lavoie, Le Devoir

“Eye-popping. Exquisite. The images in the film are unmatched by any Hollywood blockbuster. Revealing a generosity, zeal and delight here, (the film) suggests the cosmos may not be as cold as some think.” – Jordan Hoffman, Village Voice

"Escapism? Isn’t the world’s noise, chaos, anxiety and nonsense what we’re trying to escape? Which brings us to Cielo, a serene, existential experience from the Canadian filmmaker Alison McAlpine, who takes to Chile’s Atacama Desert to look both skyward and inward." – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

 

“Numerous images of transcendent beauty. A visual symphony of the moon, stars, sun and clouds as they move through the wild blue yonder. Seen on a big screen, these images - photographed by cinematographer Benjamin Echazarreta - have a transporting power that comes close to approximating what it must be like to actually stand in (Northern Chilean desert) Atacama, gazing up in awe. Shooting stars fly by like paint slashed on a cosmic canvas. Even the Milky Way itself rotates through the heavens with breathtaking clarity.” - Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“CIELO is the very definition of a tone poem. The true stars of the film - terrible pun intended - are McAlpine’s images of the sky. A sweepingly visual film.” – Anna Storm, Film Journal

“Si le film s’apparente parfois dans son observation du ciel à une hallucination, c’est plutôt un échange spirituel auquel McAlpine nous invite de participer, une connaissance irréfragable des forces du désert et des astres.” - André Roy, 24 images

"Su impacto ante la magnitud de estas noches estrelladas y lo impresionante del paisaje se expresa a lo largo de la película no sólo en la notable fotografía de todo el documental, sino también en la voz en off que va guiando la narración. Una voz que invita a detenerse, a permitirse afectar por el paisaje, a hacerse preguntas y a compartir las inquietudes". - Antonella Estévez, CineChile

"A profound collection of perspectives on life’s ceiling" - Richard Crouse, CTV News

"Cielo nous transporte hors des villes saturées de lumière afin de nous donner la chance de porter un second regard sur le ciel. On en sort troublé, comme réveillé d’un rêve trop beau pour se terminer." – Anthony Dubé, Les Méconnus

“Cielo: The desert sky as backdrop makes for a profound contemplative experience.” - Jim Slotek, Original Cin

“Cielo est composé de contre-plongées phénoménales. Des plans lents, pourtant en accéléré, du ciel étoilé qu’avale le désert au fil des heures, jusqu’à engloutir la lune. L’ensemble des prises de vue sont empreintes de la subjectivité d’Allison, qui n’apparaît jamais à l’écran, bien que toujours présente derrière la caméra. Sa voix off incarne une voix intérieure qui réunit les personnages en un infini dialogue avec le ciel.” - Gabrielle Lebeau, L’heuristique

"De contenido poético e imbuido de espiritualidad, la realizadora ofrece un documental atmosférico de hipnótico primor". - Jorge Guzmán, Tribuna Cultural

"Voyage contemplatif empreint de poésie. Message environnementaliste subtil et nécessaire. Entrevues en profondeur. Saisissantes images du ciel chilien.” - Charles-Henri Ramon,  Mediafilm

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"****Cielo will leave you starstruck with its gorgeous imagery."  – Chris Knight, The National Post

“Cielo” is the sort of meditative tone poem guaranteed to evoke moments in life that altered your perception of existence…In terms of sheer visual majesty, McAlpine’s film ranks alongside Warwick Thornton’s Australian western “Sweet Country” as one of the year’s great achievements in cinematography…her film nevertheless serves as a welcome dose of spiritual awareness” - Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert

“This contemplative and richly visualized astronomy doc combines incredible landscapes with celestial perspectives that encourage the audience to ponder its place amid the grand shrine of the cosmos. Adjectives like “breathtaking” and “stunning” are often overused to the point of cliché, but they certainly describe the poetic visuals in Cielo. The masterful use of time-lapse photography, a painterly application of natural light and an extraordinary sense of composition produce memorable imagery that is truly mesmerizing and well deserving of this year’s cinematography prize." - American Cinematographer

“NNNN. I am prepared to beat this drum particularly hard for Alison McAlpine’s Cielo. You need to lock yourself in the dark with it.” – Norman Wilner, NOW

 

“The sky above Chile comes alive in experimental documentary ‘Cielo’.. Balancing science, folklore and spirituality, the film blends kaleidoscopic night shots, time-lapses and “organic effects” with observational portraits of desert residents… McAlpine’s visuals transport the viewer to a state of reflection while reminding us of the sublime beauty of the space above.” - Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“Cielo es una carta abierta en alta definición. Una mirada poética astronómica y social a un patrimonio que nos pertenece a todos”. - Andrés Nazarala, La Segunda

“Amidst the stillness of the landscape, we see the stars spin above the earth as if we’ve become unstuck in time, we watch the gargantuan housing of a high-powered telescope whirl like a top. Unlike in Koyaanisqatsi which seems to rush as us like a train, Philip Glass’s soundtrack vibrating our nerves, Cielo is a quiet film, composer Phillippe Lauzier’s soundtrack evincing an exploratory percussiveness which seems to float above and beneath Benjamin Echazarreta’s alternately still and roaming camera. This film should be watched on a big screen." - John Duncan Talbird, Film Int.

“Alison McAlpine’s stunning new documentary, Cielo, is like a gallon of ice cold water poured on us, the sleeping masses, opening our eyes to what we so often forget to see, or even consider. McAlpine take us deep into the Atacama Desert in Chile, location of several astronomical observatories and telescopes, to remind us—or, in some cases, show us for the first time—of the complex beauty of existence. Balancing stunning time lapse video of the night sky with interviews of those who live and work in Atacama, Cielo is less a film than it is a poem, capturing nature at her most naked and beautiful. Like any good poem, Cielo is quietly breathtaking, taking you on an outward journey that leads you down a path to your innermost spaces.” - James Roberts, Glide Magazine

 “A star-laden travel movie like no other. No planetarium could hope to replicate the awe-inspiring spectacle that is Alison McAlpine’s CIELO. The bespangled heavens above the Andes, which the director-narrator contemplates with awe worthy of a Romantic poet, is complemented in the film by the rugged hills, arid plains, lunar landscapes, and Pacific shores. Gaze at McAlpine’s film and drink in the mystery and realities of a place where, as she says, ‘the sky is more urgent than the land.” -  Graham Fuller, The Culture Trip

"A unique and eye-opening documentary" - Courtney Small, CinemaAxis

“McAlpine expertly intertwines the mundanity of daily life on the earth with the remarkable views of its atmosphere above, creating a balanced narrative and a truly enjoyable viewing experience. The sky isn’t just the backdrop in this story - it is the story, and a captivating one." – Brigid Presecky, FF2 Media

“I was fortunate enough to grow up under the inspiring sky of northern Chile, which at night feels so close that -in the words of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda- “I was able to touch the nocturnal vault”. This feeling is beautifully and accurately captured in this documentary by Alison McAlpine.” - Maurice Bitran, CEO of Ontario Science Centre

“Esta producción chileno-canadiense destaca obviamente por su impecable e impresionante fotografía. McAlpine sabe donde poner la cámara”. - CineTV y Mas