Fantasia Review: Giving Birth to a Butterfly

Diane and Marlene

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our lives, focussed on the daily grind and simply taking one day at a time, losing sight of the bigger picture. Anything that threatens to interfere with this routine can feel like an unwanted distraction. Sometimes we just need to just stop, breathe, and take stock of the situation. To escape this vicious cycle it is often necessary to remove ourselves temporarily, and it’s a trip inspires personal reflection in Giving Birth to a Butterfly.

Diane Dent (Annie Parisse) lives a normal humdrum suburban life, worried about saving enough money to fund her daughter’s (Rachel Resheff) education while tolerating her husband’s self-obsession. When her son brings home his new pregnant girlfriend Marlene (Gus Birney), she sees it as an unwanted intrusion. However, after being scammed out of her life savings she enlists her help and the pair go on a road trip to get it back.  

Filmed in washed-out 16mm pastel hues, Giving Birth to a Butterfly is an enigmatic and eerie mystery which centres on the relationship between the two leads. Diane’s blunt cynicism rubs up against Marlene’s honest openness to create a fascinating and immersive viewing experience. The 1950s stylings colour a very modern tale. Giving Birth to a Butterfly departs on a voyage of self-discovery which charts unknown waters. If all the world is a stage, then Theodore Schaefer’s film is….well.

Giving Birth to a Butterfly screens at Fantasia International Film Festival.

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