7.7/10
2,628
26 user 18 critic

Swallowtail Butterfly (1996)

Suwarôteiru (original title)
The struggles of a group of immigrant outcasts living in an alternative-future, xenophobic Japanese metropolis.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hiroshi Mikami ...
Feihong
Chara ...
Glico
...
Ageha
Yôsuke Eguchi ...
Ryou Ryanki
Andy Chi-On Hui ...
Maofuu
Atsuro Watabe ...
Ran
Tomoko Yamaguchi ...
Shenmei
Nene Ohtsuka ...
Reiko
...
Suzukino
Yoriko Dôguchi ...
Hoshino (as Yoriko Doguchi)
Mickey Curtis ...
Doctor
Tetsu Watanabe ...
Yakuza boss
Sansei Shiomi
Shirô Takehatsu ...
(as Shiro Takehatsu)
...
Arrow
Edit

Storyline

After a young girl's mother dies, she is cared for by Glico, a brassy hooker, who gives the girl the name "Ageha" (Butterfly). Ageha goes to work for a collection of oddballs who run a junkyard and salvage business. Written by sharptongue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the story of Yentowns in Yentown.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

14 September 1996 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Perhonen sydämessä  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

JPY 336,846,600 (Japan) (15 November 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Excellent mixture of style and content.
17 April 2000 | by (Helsinki, Finland) – See all my reviews

While I'm particularly fond of Japanese films, I must admit quite a few of them are enjoyable only because of their unique style, not because of their actual content. Films like Shark Skin Man And Peach Hip Girl are fun to watch, but that's all there is to them. Yentown (Swallowtail's original title), on the other hand, is a prime example of Japanese cinema at it's finest. Combining music and politics, drama and action, social commentary and humor, art film and popular film, Yentown is a true post-modern experience, rich both in style and in content.

The film takes place in the Tokyo of near future, in a ghetto inhabited by immigrants from all over Asia. The status of immigrants is a touchy subject in Japan, and it has been widely covered in many of the recent Japanese films. What separates Yentown from them is that it uses the ghetto only as a starting point, and although the hardships of the immigrants (and outsiders in general) are a major theme, it is only one of the numerous subjects the film explores.

Basically, Yentown is about dreams. The story revolves around a group of poverty-stricken immigrants, to whom a sudden twist of fate gives the opportunity to literally make money and thus realize their dreams. Unfortunately, their luck is not without it's consequences, and even if they get what they've always dreamed of, they may realize they've chasen the wrong dream. This may not be the most original of ideas, but the story is told with such energy and originality, and with such sympathetic characters, that the viewer soon forgets the familiriaty of the basic plot.

Yentown is a type of film that gets even better on multiple viewings. The story is told in a non-linear way which can make the film seem a bit confusing, at least when seen for the first time. There are elements (and even characters) in Yentown used mainly as metaphors, and to careless viewer it may appear that the film doesn't quite properly tie up it's threads. But if the viewer has the courage and patience to watch a film quite different from our Western tradition, Yentown will reward him/her with an unique blend of emotion, wit and beauty.


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