The Pearl Button (12A)

The Pearl Button (12A)

Directed by Patricio Guzman
Picturehouse, Liverpool
1st April – 7th April 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This documentary set in Chile has many mesmerising images of water. Director Patricio Guzman links the past and current inhabitants in the country to water and its role in the history of the nation.

He evocation of the wonders of water is mystical and awe-inspiring. But I find it hard to believe that water on earth originated from outer space, from distant galaxies. Because of this belief Guzman believes that the original Patagonian tribes viewed the sea with fear as well as reverence.

In relation to outer space images are shown of massive telescopes based in Chilean deserts – believed to be the driest in the world – which are awe-inspiring to behold, as they reach to the cosmos.

Observers in the film state that water can talk and produce music – I fully concur with that view – but it is also shown to be part of evil, murderous acts when, during the reign of Salvador Allende during the early 1970s,some dissidents of his dictatorship were taken up in helicopters, weighed down by part of a rail track and then dumped at sea.

Guzman’s documentary is never self-righteous but instead he evokes a a sort of dream-like effect. it is an enthralling experience.

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