Black Butterflies

Black Butterflies

DVD - 2012
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Poetry, politics, madness, and desire collide in the true story of the woman hailed as South Africa's finest poet. In 1960s Cape Town, as Apartheid steals the expressive rights of blacks and whites alike, young Ingrid Jonker finds her freedom scrawling verse while frittering through a series of stormy affairs. Amid escalating quarrels with her lovers and her rigid father, a parliament censorship minister, the poet witnesses an unconscionable event that will alter the course of both her artistic and personal lives.


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Jun 03, 2016

An interesting drama shot in Capetown, about the life of a South African poet and her various affairs with men, and her struggle with life in general. The backdrop is the apartheid period in SA. Beautiful sea views here and there. Worth a watch.

Dec 31, 2014

Movies about people coming undone are not the easiest to pull off and this biopic of troubled poetess Ingrid Jonker, dubbed the “Sylvia Plath of South Africa”, can attest to that fact. Raised in a strict authoritarian home after the death of her grandmother, the free-spirited anti-apartheid Ingrid often found herself at loggerheads with her father, a senior government official in charge of censoring literary works. Her bohemian lifestyle eventually led to several affairs including an on-again off-again relationship with novelist Jack Cole, a couple of abortions, and more than one hospitalization for severe depression and attempted suicide. But her beautifully visceral poetry earned her a permanent place in South African literature; Nelson Mandela even quoted one of her poems during the first session of that country’s democratic parliament. Unfortunately director Paula van der Oest captures neither her protagonist’s passion nor her underlying demons. Instead we see a shrill, annoying woman running around in circles and alienating everyone she comes in contact with. There is no emotional connection with the audience hence no empathy while the pat script fails to engage us intellectually. The scenery is wonderful though, the acting adequate, and the few snippets of poetry moving.

btmslt Jun 18, 2013

An interesting film concerning the life of a poet and her frustrations with life in South Africa.

Mar 29, 2013

This movie seems to have the ingredients for a good film but is disjointed, uninvolving, and flat. Ingrid Jonker, as played by Carice van Houten, is too unpleasant and capricious a "free spirit" to have us care much for her and, although you would think a Dutch actor used to working in English would find an Afrikaans accent a good fit, she never manages it. As for the plot --people just turn up sporadically and say or do things. Liam Cunningham as Jonker's lover is good, though.

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