starring Gus Birney, Annie Parisse, Paul Sparks, Judith Roberts
written by Patrick Lawler & Theodore Schaefer
directed by Theodor Schaefer
Fantasia Festival runs from August 5 to August 25, 2021. For more details, visit their website.
by Walter Chaw Theodore Schaefer's Giving Birth to a Butterfly is in love with doubling and other broad metaphors deployed to speak, Kieslowski-like, to the winsome possibilities of unlived lives. Trapped in a loveless marriage with oaf Daryl (Paul Sparks), Diane (Annie Parisse) is mother to wry Danielle (Rachel Resheff) and a dreamer of a boy (Owen Campbell) who has just brought home a girlfriend, Marlene (Gus Birney), pregnant by another. Marlene needs a place to stay, and against Diane's wishes, everyone's planning to impose Marlene upon Diane's household. It's weird, you know, because Marlene doesn't even seem to want to be there. That's the essential premise of Giving Birth to a Butterfly: that women aren't in charge of their own fate--ever, but particularly when they're in the process of expressing their biology. That is, when they're mothers. The best part of this film is the first part establishing a tense family dynamic, with Diane maybe the only adult in the room. The men and the pre-motherhood teen girl are silly and unmoored to the cold realities of existence.