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The Pearl Button

​Several years ago I had the idea of doing something about Patagonia, but the remoteness of the territory and the lack of resources paralyzed me for many years. Things finally got going in 2012 thanks to the production work of Renate Sachse. For the realization we have filmed on a sailboat commanded by Keri Lee Pashuk and Greg Landreth, the best sailors in the area. We have visited the most remote glaciers and the most inaccessible mountain ranges of Patagonia, which is the largest archipelago in Chile and on Earth.

Cordillera en la Patagonia.jpg



It is the largest archipelago in the world. It is estimated that it could have 74 thousand kilometers of coastline. It has never been fully explored. It extends from the Gulf of Penas to the Islas de los Estados (the last tip of South America). This labyrinth of water reminds us of the aquatic origin of man. According to several scientists, we still have some traces of this underwater past in our bodies: the inner ear is a coiled mollusk, the heart is the meeting of two underwater currents, some of the bones in our body are twisted in a spiral, like a whirlpool.


Water is a common element of the Solar System. It is found as water vapor on Jupiter and Saturn. As ice it is on Mars, the Moon, Europa and Titan. Beyond the Solar System there is plenty of water on many other celestial bodies. It has been detected in almost the entire universe from several Chilean observatories.


Making a film about Patagonia also pushed me to film the history of its inhabitants. Some oceanographers maintain that “the activity of thinking resembles water thanks to its ability to adapt to everything”. Perhaps this explains how a human group managed to live here for 10 thousand years under polar cold. It is estimated that in the eighteenth century there were eight thousand individuals with 300 canoes.



She is the last descendant of the Kawésqar ethnic group who remembers the life of her people with complete lucidity and precision. When she was a girl, she traveled more than a thousand kilometers by canoe from Punta Arenas to the Gulf of Penas. Thanks to the outreach work carried out by his son Juan Carlos Tonko, his life has come out of anonymity. He lives in Puerto Eden.


She is the last native of the Yagán ethnic group and recognized as a "living human treasure" by the National Council of Culture of Chile. She is 86 years old and earns her living making handcrafted fabrics. He has worked on the conservation of the Yagan culture. He lives in Villa Ukika, the southernmost village in the world.


Nephew of Cristina, discoverer of some cave paintings of his Yagán ethnic group on Shapine Island. He is also a canoe builder in the old style that he learned from his father. Together with this he crossed Cape Horn when he was a child.


Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Law of the University of Chile. National Prize for History in 2006. He perfected his studies in England where he obtained his doctorate in Economic and Social History. He was tortured in Pinochet's prisons. In 2011, he led the support for students in Chile.


Thanks to his poetic work he received the National Prize for Literature in 2000. Zurita became a radical member of the CADA group. He wrote a gigantic phrase in the Atacama desert: "Neither sorrow nor fear." In New York, five planes wrote a poem of his 9 kilometers long. He was tortured in the holds of the ship “Maipo”.


Creator of the indigenous music archive of the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Founder of the musical ensemble "La Chimuchina". Anthropologist with mention in Archeology and Master in Musicology. He is an interpreter of traditional songs that he performs with groups of peasants from the coast and center of Chile.


This film would not have been possible without the remarkable photos of Paz Errázuriz who made an album of Kawésqar survivors in the 1990s. And also with the images of other photographers from the 19th century, such as the Austrian Martín Gusinde who made more than thousand photographs of the Selk'nam aborigines.


“An aesthetic, poetic and political essay…” (Estadao, São Paulo)

"A journey of great beauty through the Cosmos and the Earth..." (Efe)

“A standing ovation at the Berlinale” (Deutsche Welle)

“Guzmán is a great artist and I would say that this film is his masterpiece” (Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlin Film Festival)

“No one has filmed such powerful scenes in Patagonia before” (La Tercera)

“A film of undeniable power” (The Hollywood Reporter)

“Terrence Malick and Patricio Guzmán, two masters of the poetic image” (Euronews)

“An exceptional film, an important work” (Cineuropa)

"Master Guzmán fascinates" (El País)

“Guzmán integrates ideas into an incredibly coherent and fluid whole” (FilmDeCulte)

“One of the greatest contemporary documentary filmmakers, an eternal humanist” (PaperStreet, Italy)

"A fascinating and traumatic path in the recent history of Chile" ( 


Disponible en VOD

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