Following his previous essay film Nostalgia for the Light, Patricio Guzmán moves from the mysteries of the cosmos and the observatories in the Atacama Desert to the ocean that defines an important border to his native Chile.

In The Pearl Button, Guzmán contemplates the lack of relationship that Chileans have with the Pacific, despite the country’s nearly 2,500 miles of coastline. But this was not always the case. Before colonial times the Kaweskar (the Water People) paddled the length of the immense Chilean coast, living in harmony with the waters that provided their livelihood. These days, few survivors remain to tell their story. Through interviews with some of the last remaining Kaweskar, Guzmán chronicles the terrible devastation wrought by colonial genocide. Returning always to the dictatorship that defines Chile’s recent history, Guzmán’s The Pearl Button asserts the importance of memory in a world always hastening to forget.

Preceded by Bear Story (Historia de un oso)
Winner of the 2015 Oscar for animated short film!

(Directed by Gabriel Osorio, Chile, 2014, 11 minutes)
This allegory about the “disappeared” in Pinochet’s Chile is the tale of an elderly bear who recalls his life by entertaining people on the street with mechanical puppetry.

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Patricio Guzmán
Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time
82 minutes
DCP, Color