Irish Film Institute -M.Butterfly


Director: David Cronenberg

A passionate affair, a chain of deceptions and a shocking betrayal shape M. Butterfly, a powerful romantic drama from director David Cronenberg. Rene Gallimard (Irons) is a French diplomatic functionary serving in Beijing, China in 1964, who is unprepared for the intense emotion that overtakes him when he witnesses a beautiful Beijing opera diva’s performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Gallimard meets, then develops an obsession with his mysterious muse, Song Liling (Lone), whom he refers to as ‘Butterfly,’ following her into the hidden world of arcane Chinese music, culture – and finally into a love affair so passionate that he willingly risks, and then rejects, every other part of his life.
As Galliamard’s existence, demeanour and fundamental character are transformed, he unexpectedly begins to rise through the diplomatic ranks. His expertise in Chinese cultural matter has revealed itself and enhanced his professional stature, though Gallimard cares for nothing but the object of his love. But this fevered fantasy cannot last: he discovers he has been the object of a deadly game of international manipulation. And one fateful day he learn a shocking truth that transfigures all he has experienced. Shattered, taking refuge in his fantasies, Gallimard retreats into dreams of exotic, ethereal romance forever and leaves his former lover devastated by the indelible significance of their shared passion.

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