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

Gross USA:

$1,499,795
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

David Cronenberg loved the play so much that when he heard a movie was being made about it, he volunteered immediately to direct it. See more »

Goofs

The word accordion is misspelled "accordian" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Ambassador Toulon: You said the Americans would succeed in Vietnam. You were kidding, right?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eastern Promises: Secrets and Stories (2007) See more »

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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.


26 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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