6.8/10
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50 user 33 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)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

M. Baterflaj 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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

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User Reviews

 
Sometimes love knows no gender
24 May 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Or, conversely, love doesn't know the gender it loves.

Jeremy Irons and John Lone star in "M. Butterfly," based on the hit play by David Henry Hwang. In the mid-'60s, while the cultural revolution is going on in China, French Vice Consul Phillipe Bouriscot (Irons) falls in love with a singer, Song (John Lone), who performs with the Bejing opera. He believes Song to be a woman. And, like the story of "Madame Butterfly," there is love, there is betrayal, and there is humiliation.

As unbelievable as this story might be, it's based on a true one. The film doesn't go into how this fantasy was actually executed physically, but in point of fact, in real life, the character played by Irons believed he had gotten Song pregnant. Odd but true.

David Cronenberg does an excellent job with this dark, mysterious film, and the actors are terrific, each character hooked on this fantasy in his own way. The end of the film is haunting.

Well worth seeing.


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