6.8/10
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53 user 31 critic

M. Butterfly (1993)

In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

David Henry Hwang (play), David Henry Hwang (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... René Gallimard
John Lone ... Song Liling
Barbara Sukowa ... Jeanne Gallimard
Ian Richardson ... Ambassador Toulon
Annabel Leventon ... Frau Baden
Shizuko Hoshi Shizuko Hoshi ... Comrade Chin
Richard McMillan ... Embassy Colleague
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Agent Etancelin
David Hemblen ... Intelligence Officer #1
Damir Andrei Damir Andrei ... Intelligence Officer #2
Antony Parr Antony Parr ... Intelligence Officer #3
Margaret Ma Margaret Ma ... Song's Maid
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Defense Attorney
Philip McGough Philip McGough ... Prosecution Attorney
David Neal ... Judge
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Storyline

During the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-1960s, a French diplomat falls in love with a singer in the Beijing Opera. Interwoven with allusions to the Puccini opera "Madama Butterfly", a story of love and betrayal unfolds. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and a brief bloody sequence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Antony Parr's final film. See more »

Goofs

Gallimard keeps referring to the aria "Un bel dì vedremo" as Butterfly's "death scene," but it isn't. This song occurs much earlier in the opera, where Butterfly dreams of her American lover returning. Her actual death scene occurs at the very end, during an aria called "Con onor muore." See more »

Quotes

Drunk in Paris bar: [Hearing pro-Communist students parading outside] God damn it! Must be those fucking students again! Talk about China? I'll be you if go out that door you'll think you're back in Beijing! Every damn leftist student in Paris has Mao's little red book in his hand, and a red firecracker up his ass!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Elementary: Fidelity (2017) See more »

User Reviews

 
Cronenberg Takes on a Classic Opera Espionage Twister
19 October 2007 | by semioticzSee all my reviews

Jeremy Irons plays the lead role as French diplomat, Phillipe Bouriscot, who falls in love with an absolutely seductive Chinese woman opera singer (John Lone). As Irons pursues the diva he's attracted to, she toys with his foreign ignorance of the cultural differences between their Western & Eastern societies.

In a sense, she keeps the diplomat at a distance for 18 years while their affair continues by becoming his teacher of cultural difference. The romantic & erotic chemistry between the diplomat & opera singer is a very famous true story written by David Henry Hwang--"Madame Butterfly." There have been numerous stage & screen renditions of the story.

I like this (1994) version best because David Cronenberg is undoubtedly the finest director to deal with the most important topic in the story: gender bending. "M. Butterfly" is the Canadian Cronenberg's first Hollywood funded debut. The surprise plot of the sorted true love story is one of espionage. An adults only film, it is one of intrigue, sizzling romance, twists & turns, deception & betrayal.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | Chinese | French | Italian

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M. Butterfly See more »

Filming Locations:

Balassagyarmat, Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,280, 3 October 1993

Gross USA:

$1,498,795

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,498,795
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geffen Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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