A young woman returns from Canada to the town in Philippines where she grew up, when a gold mine provided good income to the population, but with the mine company gone all she finds is poverty among her friends: an unwed mother, her brother, an ex-miner and the former chief of security, who plans to kidnap her for ransom.Written by
Edgar Soberón Torchia
A true independent feature with strong local roots, Butterflies Have No Memories is a tragic account of what happens when your foothold is removed without any prior warning. The film narrates an account of the struggling economy on a Philippine island after a goldmine has been withdrawn from the land, leaving people without jobs, stature and money. Man Ferding, the erstwhile security chief of the goldmine slowly decays within his dreams (that the goldmine will be back again) and his alcohol, with two other friends, Santos and Willy, also looking for meaning in an unforgiving world and trying to somehow make it through poverty and the looming emptiness of the future. Diaz raises pertinent questions regarding what easy money does to people & their attitudes and what tolls industrialization takes on the environment, and in that attempt, effectively dissects the anguishes of a surrogate economy, where foreigners come in, exploit, pollute and then leave the land worthless, not leaving it fit enough for the indigenous people to survive off it. It is then that things go awry, as Martha, the daughter of an ex-director of the mine returns from Canada, and creates ripples in all who meet her. She is a disproportionate piece in the entire setting, and it is marvelous how Diaz captures the various reactions that people throw at her, ranging from jealousy, hatred, fervent love to indifference, painting the gamut of Philippine psyche and nature in one stroke. The closing of the movie had the most impact on me, and at that precise sequence, the unfortunate saga that Diaz wanted to sketch emerges at its most transparent and raw, and probably makes us realize the folly of all that has come to pass. Great concepts executed with some palpable indie verve. Intriguing watch.
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