M Butterfly

M Butterfly

DVD - 2009
Average Rating:
3
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A French diplomat falls in love with a singer with the Beijing Opera. After a love affair spanning nearly 20 years, he discovers that she is a spy.
Alternative Title: Madame Butterfly
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2009]
ISBN: 9781419880216
1419880217
Branch Call Number: Feature
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (101 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.

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ClarkHarveyRoth
Sep 05, 2016

The Summer of '16 David Cronenberg retrospective winds down as the weather turns, & this one has always been such a footnote for me I'd never seen it before, so I'll admit I wasn't expecting much & found it at least an interesting meditation on East meeting West (in a commode, & elsewhere). As often as not, unfortunately, the leading lady could have been a lot more believably female, & if this was to let us in on the gag (yikes) before Jeremy Irons faces the big reveal, so that the whole movie doesn't hinge on the audience finding out...I guess I understand. Lacking the implicit espionage-related tension of a 'Lust, Caution', say, or 'The Black Book', I think the focus is more this bewitching spiral of narrative that captures the Frenchman as in a web, where he's trying to play out all the fantasy & mystery of this singular mythic rendering from the opera, with this woman, play its form as written, but also improvise, explore, & in so doing he slowly becomes the prey. So it's kind of sad & hideous material, & this is a decent movie about it, you know? Nice shots of Paris at the end, for sure. CR

michlmac Apr 08, 2014

I didn't see the play. I did read it and liked it a great deal. Since I'd heard and read that the movie didn't live up to the play's excellent reputation I can't claim disappointment. The holes in the story definitely were. CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING MAY BE SPOILERS. How did Song get Renee to divulge state secrets? How was Renee so gullible as to believe what he and Song were doing could producer a child? Renee's wife just disappears early in the story. Why was an accountant elevated to such a high-level position? After national disgrace, why was he a trusted courier of important documents? Song is at times delicately beautiful; at other times almost ugly. M. Butterfly is supposed to be based on a true story. Perhaps these elements are true to the tale, but they needed exploration. The screenplay is by the play's author.

macabrescribe May 27, 2011

I could not believe how incredibly dull M. Butterfly was. I've been told the play is absolutely enthralling. Therefore, I expected more of the film, which didn't become interesting until the last 20 minutes. This is definitely not David Cronenberg's best film.

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