Black Butterfly

New York Premiere

Peru | 118 MINUTES | Spanish |


This chilling political thriller is set in the year 2000, on the eve of the fall of President Alberto Fujimora's corrupt regime in Peru. At the time, the most powerful man in the country was Vladimir Montesinos, a behind-the-scenes general whose secret videotaping and brutal retributions kept the government, as well as its critics, firmly in their places. In the story, a demure young schoolteacher (Melania Urbina) of privilege faces the ugliness of the political climate when her fiancé, a judge, is murdered. Seeking explanation, she confronts the cynical, muckraking tabloid journalist (Magdyel Ugaz) who is spreading rumors about his death. In an unlikely partnership, the two team up to exact revenge. Urbina's impressive, believable transformation from innocent upper-class girl to a woman capable of anything finds a beautiful counterpoint in newcomer Ugaz's tough reporter. Director Francisco Lombardi, Peru's most prolific and successful auteur, has examined this period before in the sprawling Ojos que no ven (What the Eye Doesn't See, 2003). But in this film, based on a novel by Alonso Cueto, he makes the story as much a character study as a taut suspense piece, cutting even closer to the heart of the fear and corruption that characterized much of Peruvian society at the turn of the last century.


Directed by Francisco Lombardi

FRANCISCO LOMBARDI, the most internationally recognized contemporary Peruvian filmmaker, was born in Tacana in 1949. In 1968, he traveled to Argentina to study at the Film School of Santa Fe before it was closed by the military government. He returned to Lima to study direction and cinematography. Due to the absence of film production in his country, he chose to pursue journalism, a profession he combined with film criticism. He began making short films in 1974, and made his featurelength debut with Muerte al Amenecer (Death at Dawn). 1985's La Ciudad y Los Perros (The City and the Dogs) premiered at several international film festivals and made him one of the top Spanish language directors of the decade. Mariposa Negra (Black Butterfly) is Lombardi's 13th film and the first part of a planned trilogy; it was inspired by the novel Grand Illusions and adapted by his longtime collaborator Giovanna Pollarolo.