The Pearl Button

A “profound” “mesmerizing” film about water & memory from Chilean master Patricio Guzman.

NR, 82 minutes

Part of our BRILLIANT CORNERS series

Post-show Q&A with Claudia Lagos Lira (UIUC College of Media, Universidad de Chile) & Austin McCann

From Chilean master Patricio Guzman (The Battle of Chile, Nostalgia for The Light), comes the acclaimed film The Pearl Button, called “lyrical, impressionist, and profound” (LA Times) and “a vivid, essential portal understanding not only the heritage of a nation, but also the art of nonfiction cinema” (Indiewire). Strongly recommended.

ABOUT THE PEARL BUTTON: The ocean contains the history of all humanity. The sea holds the voices of the Earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of a mysterious button that was discovered in its seabed. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline, the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian indigenous people, of the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice. (2015, Patricio Guzman, 82 min, DCP)

” … a vivid, essential portal to understanding not only the heritage of a nation, but also the art of nonfiction cinema.” -Indiewire

“[Guzman] finds a kind of justice through poetry, and shows how memory must always be a continuing process.” -New York Times

“By turns lyrical, impressionistic and profound, the documentary The Pearl Button requires patience but offers stirring rewards.” -Los Angeles Times

“Guzmán’s essential thesis seems to be that, in turning its back on the ocean, modern Chile lost a crucial part of its identity. But he also puts forward the extraordinary idea that the water has a memory, and that if you listen closely enough, you can hear the voices of the disappeared.” -The Playlist

“It is the director’s extraordinary intuition about the synchronicity of history, geography and the physical universe – a mysterious relationship that has nothing to do with cause and effect – that gives the film and its predecessor their undeniable power.” -The Hollywood Reporter

“Mesmerizing.” -The Playlist


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