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Review: A Butterfly Kiss (2011)

Director: Karine Silla | 108 minutes | | Actors: , , Vincent Perez, Jalil Lespert, , , , , , , Edith Scob, , , , ,

‘Un baiser papillon’ brings together different stories that have a few things in common in terms of theme. This is mostly about motherhood and honesty and sincerity in relationships, and this sometimes creates magical and beautiful, recognizable moments. But often there is also too little involvement with the characters and the insights and emotions are flat. The film structure with intermittent and parallel stories can lead to a deeper or greater insight, but it can also backfire because too little time is spent with the characters and too many side jumps are made. Unfortunately, the latter happens a little too often in ‘Un baiser papillon’.

It feels like a missed opportunity, because if the director had tightened the reins a little more, it could have been an emotional and true film. Unfortunately, there is now too much distraction. Such as the whims of the black sheep Paul who, not only interferes with the life of Billie and Vincent, but also develops a fleeting relationship with a hooker and tries to save her from her pimp. In addition, the relationship between Alice and her husband has barely worked out and we only see her go through life unhappily because of the apparent monotony of their Parisian life (they go to the same place every year on summer holidays and hubby always buys the same sandwiches for breakfast). Her child’s fear of abandonment is potentially interesting (he’s afraid of the dark, and apparently this is, as an expert on the film explains

This applies to many of the stories, none of which are entirely successful, but all have beautiful moments. Valeria Golino is vulnerable but serene as a woman who does not want to be patronized and pathetic during her last days of life. It is not a new approach or wish, but the way she expresses her feelings is simple yet striking: as she watches a beautiful ballet lesson from her daughter, she explains that she does not want to die with them, she wants to go with them. life. Above all, she wants to feel the joy of living with them, and not let everything revolve around the approaching death. Also beautiful is her “confession” that she had expected that she would suddenly gain a lot of wisdom the moment the disease turned out to be irreversible, but she could only think about her shopping list.

Billie’s desire to have children is, then, very understandable, and frustrating because of her difficulty in conceiving, and her friend’s other priorities, who mostly get lost in his music (Vivaldi in particular). But this story could also have gone deeper and now sometimes gets bogged down in melodrama and hysteria.

The music is beautiful, although it is not an original soundtrack. Apart from the use of a Vivaldi symphony for Billie’s husband’s conducting job, Badalamenti’s soundtrack has been used before, for ’s ‘The Straight Story’. Well fitting, though.

It is nice in itself that not every story ends in an overly rosy way that there will still be a difficult road for different characters to go, but, as so often happens in these types of “mosaic films”, at the end everything is very neatly ended forged, and the quick solution and hopeful turn to every story is a bit too forced. It just raises the awareness that this is a film with “symbolism” and good intentions, and not necessarily recognizable pieces from real people’s real lives.

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