Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Mariposa
Argentina, 2015. Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, Oh My Gomez! Films, Roberto me dejó Films, Universidad del Cine. Screenplay by Marco Berger. Cinematography by Tomas Perez Silva. Produced by Mariana Contreras, Martin Cuinat, Pablo Ingercher Casas, Fiona Pittaluga. Music by Pedro Irusta. Production Design by Sebastian Roses. Film Editing by Marco Berger.
A woman takes her baby on a walk through the forest, at one point setting it down by the road and abandoning it. Then we see her on her walk again, but this time she keeps her child and takes it home, the only action separating these two possibilities the flapping of a butterfly’s wings (and the apparent interest by director Marco Berger in Lorenz’s Chaos Theory).
This cleverly edited and skillfully directed romance sees four characters leading two different lives: German grows up with Romina as his sister, for whom he has dangerously sexual feelings, after her parents find her at the spot where she was abandoned, while in the alternate universe he is an only child who meets local girl Romina and falls in love with her.
There’s also German’s best friend Bruno and Romina’s best mate Mariela and their own sexual complications which play out differently in either scenario, the main crux being that the woman whose choice is to abandon her child brings years of trauma and torment that she could not have imagined to the lives affected by her actions, while the woman who gives her child her love leads to complicated but not hopeless growing pains.
Thanks to Berger’s directorial strength, you’re never confused as to which situation you are watching (carefully delineated hairstyles really help with this), and the chemistry between the actors is terrific (and in many cases super sexy), but don’t be surprised if you’re not fully captivated until the very end.
Its message (BE HUMANE! EVERYTHING COUNTS!) becomes clear early enough that it doesn’t amount to that much more than a satisfying gimmick, but thankfully it is also told with a minimum of self-congratulation or smug cleverness, and is still a good example of the director’s undeniable talent.