Butterflies with Departure

First we saw the short, called Departure. It’s about a Romanian boy who makes money begging on the subway in Sweden with his uncle. I thought it was a pretty good statement on the problems of labeling people as illegal immigrants, and it also covered some other themes fairly well. I’ll give it 3 stars out of 4 stars (graded as a short).

The feature, which was only about twice as long as the short, was Butterflies. The main character is a spacey five year-old girl named Sara, who discovers to her surprise that she can levitate under the right circumstances, namely when she has the feeling of butterflies in her stomach. It’s a sweet little film, though to me it was hurt by some of the minor characters being way too cartoon-like. I know this isn’t a film where you expect realistic performances, but still I found this distracting.

Interestingly, one of those cartoon-like characters was played by Lotta Tejle, who also played a significant role in the short film. There her performance was quite good, but here I suspect that the director asked her to play purely for comic effect.

All in all, I’ll give it a lower 3 stars out of 4 stars. This was the North American premiere.

I’ll note that these films had some projection issues. The short was widescreen (probably 2.35:1), and initially the black borders on the theater’s screen were placed narrower (probably 1.85:1), but they fixed it pretty quickly. Then the feature started with the wrong lens, making everyone look very short and wide, but that was also fixed after a couple of minutes. While it’s too bad these things happened, it’s good that the projectionist was still there to fix the problems promptly. Too often at normal multiplex showings the projectionist is rushing from one screen to another, so by the time a problem is noticed he’s long gone.

Seen 3/5/2008 at Cinequest.

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