23 April 2005 | i_am_okay
a very daring attempt
Butterfly is a brave try in the contemporary Hong Kong film industry, which has been highly commercialised. In contrast to most of the HK films, which are targeted at the mass audience, this film is definitely catering to viewers with open minds and willing to accept new story-telling styles. The two interesting features of this film, to me, who grew up with Chinese (including HK & Taiwan) films, are: first, parallel story-telling and second, the integration of political messages into a homosexual love story. Let me go more in-depth into these. In this film, there are two main stories, both happened on Ah-Die (acted by Josie Ho), but at two time segments: she at 30 something, married with a daughter; and she during her teens, in love with her schoolmate. The editing skill enhances the stories a lot, by segmenting each story and mixing them together so that the two stories are developing in a parallel manner. Only towards the ending, the audiences know that how the teen lesbian couple parted 15 years ago; and how, in the present world, the triangle relationship between Ah-Die, Yip (acted by Yuan Tian) and Ah-Die's husband was resolved. It is not easy not to confuse the audiences when telling two stories in this way, but the director had done a good job. Excellent! The second interesting feature of this film is that it was able to blend two sensitive issues (at least sensitive in the Chinese world)in one film: politics and homosexuality. In the story of teen Ah-Die 15 years ago, her girlfriend was actively involved in political activities. Though it was not said directly by the main actors, the film had sent the pro-democratic messages by touching on the Tiananmen incidence took place in 1989 in Beijing. A girl said to the public: 'I am not really interested in politics, but I can't deny that we all live in it...'; an old woman also said during a protest that 'we are all humans and we all need freedom and basic rights...'. Though these all happened about 15 years ago, as described in the film, the political messages of freedom and human rights are still valid in contemporary China. Or I dare say the director MEANS to say something about current political status in China. Therefore Butterfly (Wu Die) may not be the greatest art film in 2004 in China, nonetheless, it is the most daring one, which deserves the dedication of audiences' time to appreciate it.