The Pearl Button (Spanish: El botón de nácar) is a 2015 Chilean documentary film directed by Patricio Guzmán. The filmmaker has described the work as part of a triptych with Nostalgia for the Light (imdb) and potentially a third film focusing on the Andes.
It explores familiar Guzmán themes such as memory and the historical past, particularly that of history’s losers rather than victors, recording some of the last surviving members of the original Alacalufe and Yaghan tribes, the far north of Chile, the most waterless place on earth, where radio telescopes in the desert discover more about the cosmos each day. A departure for Guzmán is that it does not focus solely on Chile’s past under Augusto Pinochet, as the title was partly inspired by a shirt button discovered during a 2004 investigation by Chilean judge Juan Guzmán on a length of rail used to weight the bodies of Pinochet’s victims dumped in the sea and partly by the button after which the Yaghan native Jemmy Button was named when taken aboard HMS Beagle in 1830.
spacetime coordinates: Chile, 1948
Neruda is a 2016 internationally co-produced biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín, a fabulous retelling of popular poet and Communist Senator Pablo Neruda’s 1948 flight from Chile’s fascist government.
The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a screenplay written by Joe Penhall, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel of the same name by the American author Cormac McCarthy. Principal photography took place in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Oregon. The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and his son in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Hillcoat preferred to shoot in real locations, saying “We didn’t want to go the CGI world.” Pennsylvania, where most of the filming took place, was chosen for its tax breaks and its abundance of locations that looked abandoned or decayed: coalfields, dunes, and run-down parts of Pittsburgh and neighboring boroughs. Filming was also done at the 1892 amusement resort (Conneaut Lake Park) after one of the park’s buildings (the Dreamland Ballroom) was destroyed in a fire in February 2008. The beaches of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania were also used. Hillcoat also said of using Pittsburgh as a practical location, “It’s a beautiful place in fall with the colors changing, but in winter, it can be very bleak. There are city blocks that are abandoned. The woods can be brutal.” Filmmakers also shot scenes in parts of New Orleans that had been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and on Mount St. Helens in Washington. The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, a stretch of abandoned roadway between Hustontown and Breezewood, Pennsylvania, was used for much of the production.
“…Consider the Platonic distinction between body and soul. Consider Descartes’ implicit suggestion that other animals are furry robots. Consider what Dostoevsky saw when he visited Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace: he found in it a metaphor for western civilisation, an immune system that brought the world’s most diverting flora, fauna and industrial products under one roof, while whatever remained outside (war, genocide, slavery, unpleasant tropical diseases, human waste, expendable life forms) dwindled into irrelevance.”