Eminent Chilean director Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile) calls The Pearl Button the second part of a diptych alongside his masterpiece, Nostalgia for the Light. Nostalgia is set in the extreme south and focuses on the desert, while The Pearl Button is in the extreme north, with water its primary subject. Guzmán’s essay film unravels the secret of a mysterious button that was discovered along Chile’s watery coastline. Guzmán reflects on how the ocean contains the history of all humanity, how it receives impetus from the stars, and transmits it to living creatures. Along the watery coastline of Chile, Guzmán helps us to hear the voices of the Patagonian indigenous people, of the first English sailors, and also of General Pinochet’s political prisoners.
Broadening, deepening and further illuminating the inquiries of his acclaimed “Nostalgia For The Light,” Chilean director Patricio Guzmán’s “The Pearl Button” pulled off an unusual, if not unprecedented feat when, as a documentary, it took home the Berlinale Best Screenplay award. But it’s very well-deserved, because while unscripted interviews do form a large part of this questing, curious, expansive film, what unites and elevates it is the flow of its ideas and Guzman’s scintillating narration.
-Jessica Klang, IndieWire
Directed by Patricio Guzmán
Written by Patricio Guzmán
Cinematography by Katell Djian
Editing by Emmanuelle Joly
Music by Miranda & Tobar and Hughes Maréchal
Cast: Gabriela Paterito, Cristina Calderon, Martin G. Calderon, Gabriel Salazar