The Pearl Button: A Masterpiece of Documentary Filmmaking

Written, directed, and narrated by the prolific, highly accomplished Patricio Guzmán, The Pearl Button is the most beautiful, and the most haunting documentary I have ever seen.

1004Part ecstatic, poetic, cinematic essay, and part tragedy, the film covers the centuries of violence that destroyed the indigenous populations and cultures in the region now called Chile. It also covers Pinochet’s 20th century, U.S.-financed mass murder of his own people.

Yet, as the film unreels, the viewer is drawn into an inescapable world of beatific images, ideas, and mysticism.

Although Guzmán’s film is part eulogy for indigenous peoples and their cultures, the beatific images of water, land, and space, as well as his softly-spoken narration evoke a deep, layered, contemplative mood beyond the travails of our Earthly existence. This is utterly masterful filmmaking.

The Pearl Button is available on Blu-ray, and that is the ideal way to view it on home video—cell phones off, viewers quiet. The film is available via Amazon, eBay, and some libraries—when they finally open.


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