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The era of Trujillo as well as the Mirabal sisters could never be forgotten by the Dominican People. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and have many relatives from over there that have often told me stories about the horrors of living during Trujillo's Regime and the heroines that the Mirabal sisters were for standing up to him. The movie lacked too much in order to make it look like accurate Dominican History. First of all, I heard it was not even filmed in the Dominican Republic but in Mexico. Hence, that is why all the extras seem to be indigenous. In a sense I found this odd, for most of the dominican population is made up of whites, blacks, and mulattoes. To use indigenous people to represent the dominican population is like using white actors to represent the black population in a movie about Africa. Being that I read the book before hand I felt like the movie missed too much. Why didn't they portrayed the relationship between Minerva and her father more accurately? why were the stories of the other two sisters not told better? at times it feel like they were just extras that were waiting for Minerva to order them around. The best part of the book is how Patria, after many years of believing in Trujillo, finally wakes up to see him for what he really is. What ever happen to those scenes? This movie focuses too much on Minerva, and although she was the head of the group, the other sisters were also risking their lives and had a story to tell. A portrayal of the event could have been better made.
Last week in our local paper there was a photo and a story of the surviving Mirabal sister. I read the story, thought it was awful about the sisters murder, but kind of blew off the article as: "old news", "get over it already". Today I turned on the TV and this movie was on. I wasn't going to watch the whole thing, but got to putzing around and got kind of into just watching it while I did other stuff. I thought it was taking place in Mexico until I heard the part about the Haitians and figured out it was Santo Domingo. It was 3/4 of the way through the movie before I figured out it was the sisters I had read about in the paper. What a profound moment for me. These women were real heroes and their story should be told. I felt like such a jerk. It was a real lesson for me: you should never "blow anyone off" until you have heard their story. If you take the time, you may come to like and, maybe, even admire them. And you may learn something about them and yourself. No wonder their sister never stops telling their story.
Three sisters fight the evil Trujillo in this well-mounted mini-epic. Great acting somewhat marred by predictable dialogue, but the story works anyway. The women are gorgeous and sincere. James Olmos plays the three-dimensional lusty Trujillo. Good location photography in Mexico. Could have used more explanation of the politics.
This story about the Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for
tyranny is a remarkable film. The acting, directing and writing excellent.
Importantly, the cast was not Anglicized. Unlike, say, The Mask of Zorro, which is set in Spain but has Antonio Banderas as the only Hispanic actor in a lead role, this film opts for authenticity from top to bottom. Which serves a sign of respect for the powerful, compelling drama that is rendered.
With so much horror loose in this century, we forget some of the recent horrors of the last. Few people who vacation in the Dominican Republic today are aware of the brutal regime which flourished there --- like a poisonous tropical flower --- until recent times. This is a splendid depiction of it and of the struggle to overthrow it. Surprisingly there is no reference to the United States' shameful support of Trujillo or to the Castro revolution in nearby Cuba. I also wonder why it was filmed in Mexico rather than the Dominican Republic itself. But no matter. It is a gripping and thoughtful piece of cinema.
"Butterflies", the code name for three sisters and underground resistance conspirators in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorial Trujillo regime, bounds through time like a mediocre biopic taking pause at moments obviously designed to evoke emotion rather than infusing a sense of reality. Although an okay shoot technically, the film tries to do too much, doesn't give any real sense of Dominican history, and comes off like a soapy evil dictator vs three babes who even manage to find lip rouge in prison. Melodrama not for realists which attempts to connect the three sibs with Trujillo's assassination by association as opposed to fact. A poor testament to three martyrs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 November 25, 1960), Maria
Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 November 25, 1960) and
Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 November 25, 1960)
were natives of the Dominican Republic who fervently opposed the
dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. The second eldest, Bélgica
Adela "Dedé" Mirabal-Reyes , was not assassinated the day her sisters
were. As of 2007, she currently lives in Hermanas Mirabal (formerly
Salcedo), Dominican Republic. She precedes in the sisters' natal house
and works to preserve her sisters' memory through the "Museo Hermanas
Mirabal" which is also located in Salcedo and was home to the girls for
the final ten months of their lives).
The Mirabal women grew up in an upper class, well-cultured environment. All became married family women. The father of the Mirabal sisters was a successful businessman. When Trujillo came to power, their family lost almost all of their fortune. They believed that Trujillo would send their country into economic chaos. Minerva became particularly passionate about ending the dictatorship of Trujillo after talking extensively with an uncle of hers. Influenced by her uncle, Minerva became more involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. Minerva studied law and became a lawyer, but because she did not permit Trujillo romantic advancements, he ordered that she was not to receive her degree. Her sisters followed suit, and they eventually formed a group of opponents to the Trujillo regime, known as the Movement of the Fourteenth of June. Inside that group, they were known as "The Butterflies" (Las Mariposas in Spanish). They are known as Las Mariposas because that was the underground name that Minerva was recognized as in political dealings. Two of the sisters were incarcerated and tortured on several occasions. Three of the sisters' husbands were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo.
Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to try to end Trujillo's dictatorship. After the sisters' numerous imprisonments, Trujillo decided to get rid of the sisters. On November 25, 1960, he sent men to intercept the three women after the women had visited their husbands in prison. The unarmed sisters were led into a sugarcane field, then beaten and strangled to death. Their car was later thrown off of a mountain known as La Cumbre, between the cities of Santiago and Puerto Plata.
Trujillo believed at the time that he had removed a significant problem. Having the three sisters killed backfired, however: the deaths of the Mirabal sisters caused a general public outrage throughout their native country. The resultant publicity of the deaths caused the Dominican Republic to become more interested in the Mirabal sisters and their cause. This public support and awareness contributed to Trujillo's assassination six months later in 1961.
The Mirabal sisters were buried in Ojo of Agua, an area outside the city of Salcedo in Salcedo Province, on the property of their second home where they lived the last ten months of their lives. This home has also been turned into a museum in their honor and is open to the public. There is also a library, bookstore, and souvenir shop located on the property. The three sisters are buried together, and Manolo, Minerva's husband, is also buried with them.
The surviving sister, Dedé, lives near the museum. One of her sons, Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal, served as the vice-president during Leonel Fernández's first term as president of the republic between the years of 1996 and 2000. Minou Tavarez Mirabal, the eldest daughter of Minerva Mirabal has served as a Congresswoman since 1998 until 2006, and has recently been reelected for four additional years (until 2010
So many things to say about this amazing movie. This has to be one of the saddest movies i have ever watched and the really sad part about it is that this is all true, Rafael Trujillo really existed and he really did most of the things shown in the movie. I think that this movie really brings out how it must have been when he ruled, his power, his fortune and the peoples attitude towards his rule. I would liked to have seen a little more of how badly he treated black people as I myself am a black person. I Think the role of Rafael Trujillo was portrayed well by the actor who played his role, actually I think he brought him out a little too well. After the movie I was left wondering if he was that inhumane.
this is a movie we should recommend to activist, women and even children. It unfortunately reminds us that although the story happened more than thirty years ago, it is not an exception today. It also teaches us that in the situation describes in the movie, something needs to be done, it needs to start somewhere and by somebody. There is a kind of realism which can explain many weaknesses in terms of security rules and exposure of the family. it is understandable because the fight started from a personal/family frustration in front of the abuse of the dictator. It is also possible that more could have been said on the revolutionary aspects of the story. All in all, let's forget all the possible imperfections and enjoy the movie as the celebration of courage and strong determination to fight injustice and human rights violations.let's see the movie as the symbol of the fight for violence against women particularly and fight against any kind of violence and abuse of power. I absolutely recommend it to everybody and will make sure that all my friends watch it . I will buy the book to have more insights of the story.
This is a very good and in my opinion underrated movie.
Edward James Olmos at his best as he portrays the evil Trujillo a man who like Hitler became more evil as he got more power. He was a sexual sadist with a preference for young Mulatto girls which is how we get to the story in this movie.
The movie follows mainly Salma Hayek's character and her naivety until she realizes what Trujillo is really like.
The Mirabal sisters' assassination at the very end is sad but at least we are not shown the gory details.
One of Salma Hayeks best movies and I wish she did more like this instead of movies that exploited her looks and body. She is a very intelligent women and a good actress as this and the film Frida shows her to be.
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