Shoreline Movements: The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar)

This film is part of the exhibition Shoreline Movements, a program of non-fiction films curated by Erika Balsom and Grégory Castéra (Council), in a space designed by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, for the Taipei Biennial 2020.

For Patricio Guzmán, water is a medium of connection. Through this flowing motif, he creates of constellations of meaning that illuminate what is shared between the sea and the stars, as well as between the decimation of the indigenous tribes of Patagonia following the arrival of European settler-colonialists in the nineteenth century and those tortured and disappeared during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in the 1970s. Using interviews, archival materials, and spectacular depictions of landscape, The Pearl Button assembles an essayistic account of Chilean history that rejects heroic narratives of progress and national belonging. Guzmán dwells in an enduring grief for losses that remain too little acknowledged, finding possibilities for reparation and commemoration in the nonlinear temporalities of cinematic montage.

The Pearl Button (El botón de nácar), 2015, 82:00

Writer / Director

  • Patricio Guzmán


  • Emmanuelle Joly

Assistant Director

  • Nicolás Lasnibat

Sound recording

  • Álvaro Silva Wuth


  • Miranda & Tobar
  • Hughes Maréchal


  • Katell Djian

Additional photography

  • David Bravo,
  • Yves de Peretti
  • Patricio Lanfranco
  • Raúl Beas

Still photography

  • Martín Gusinde
  • Paz Errázuriz

Sound editing

  • Jean-Jacques Quinet

Images courtesy of the artist and Pyramide Films.


  • Renate Sachse
  • (Atacama Production)

Executive Producer and Production Coordinator

  • Adrien Oumhani

Line Producer in Chile

  • Verónica Rosselot


  • Bruno Bettati
  • Fernando Lataste
  • Jaume Roures Llop
  • Valdivia Film
  • Mediapro
  • France 3 Cinema

Distribution & Sales

  • Pyramide Films