The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar) (2015)


Critic Consensus: Deliberately paced yet hypnotically absorbing, The Pearl Button offers a poetic look at the wonders of the natural world -- and humanity's place among them.


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Movie Info

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.


Critic Reviews for The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar)

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (10)

This haunting Chilean documentary is more poetry than journalism as filmmaker Patricio Guzman compares the fate of the indigenous people of Patagonia with that of the disappeared of the Pinochet regime.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Another philosophical and cosmic historical documentary.

Mar 14, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

This is history of a personalized and meditative sort, and you ought to give it a chance.

Dec 3, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

By turns lyrical, impressionistic and profound, the documentary "The Pearl Button" requires patience but offers stirring rewards.

Nov 19, 2015 | Full Review…

Ultimately, the material starts to feel thin, with Guzmán attempting to cover everything in less than 90 minutes.

Nov 19, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Patricio Guzman, who chronicled the military coup against Salvador Allende in his documentary trilogy The Battle of Chile, has begun, in old age, to process his political experiences through stunning personal essay films.

Nov 13, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar)

The rambling nature of Guzmán's poetic digressions makes this film frustrating despite his sensitive intentions, and so it seems more like a mixed bag of cheesy esoteric assertions about water and random musings on indigenous people, dictatorships, pearl buttons and supernovas.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

First film I viewed at the Melbourne International Film Festival of 2015, a beautifully shot and composed documentary, focusing on the primitive Chilean water landscapes and culture along the country's boarder/coast. A lot of great insight into the mystical understanding of this culture as well as how long it has survived up til modern times. Its big essential viewing on subjects I wouldn't have ever known, especially about Chile's past dealt with dark and intimidating historical stories that are really fascinating.

Luke Eberhardt
Luke Eberhardt

Super Reviewer

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