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M. Butterfly Details


David Cronenberg's cinematic intensity eviscerates this adaptation of David Henry Hwang's passionate stage production. Based on a true incident involving a French diplomat who carried on an affair for 18 years with a man the diplomat thought was a woman, M. Butterfly begins in 1964 Beijing when French foreign service employee Rene Gallimard (Jeremy Irons) becomes smitten with Chinese opera performer Song Liling (John Lone). Before long, Gallimard is enamored with Song, and they begin an inflamed affair -- bracketed by the stipulation that Gallimard will never be allowed to look upon her in a state of complete undress. Gallimard agrees to the rules, but, as he climbs up the diplomatic ladder, the communist government gets involved, corralling Song to become an informer for the government. When, at last, Gallimard's passion demands nudity, Song flees the relationship. Gallimard, pining for his lost love, then becomes a physical and mental wreck. He leaves China and accepts a two-bit diplomatic position, but then Song appears once again to Gallimard. At that point, Gallimard is arrested and, during the subsequent sensational trial for treason, his affair is exposed for the sham that it is. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi


Jeremy Irons
as Rene Gallimard
John Lone
as Song Liling
Ian Richardson
as Ambassador Toulon
Annabel Leventon
as Frau Baden
Shizuko Hoshi
as Comrade Chin
Vernon Dobtcheff
as Agent Etancelin
Tristram Jellinek
as Defense attorney
Peter Messaline
as Diplomat at party
Damir Andrei
as 2nd Intelligence Officer
Barbara Sukowa
as Jeanne Gallimard
Deirdre Bowen
Barbara Chilcott
as Critic at Garden Party
Viktor Fulop
as Marshal
David Hemblen
as 1st Intelligence Officer
Philip McGough
as Prosecution attorney
Antony Parr
as 3rd Intelligence Officer
Sean Hewitt
as Ambassador's Aide


David Cronenberg
Gabriella Martinelli
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang
Play Author
Peter Suschitzky
Howard Shore
Composer (Music Score)
Ronald Sanders
Carol Spier
Production Designer
Marilyn Stonehouse
Production Designer
James McAteer
Art Director
Alicia Keywan
Art Director
David Henry Hwang
Executive Producer
Elinor Rose Galbraith
Set Designer
Denise Cronenberg
Costume Designer
Bryan Day
Sound/Sound Designer
John Board
First Assistant Director
Deirdre Bowen
Suzanne Benoit