Black Butterflies

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Black Butterflies
Film poster
Directed by Paula van der Oest
Produced by Frans van Gestel
Richard Claus
Arry Voorsmit
Michael Auret
Written by Greg Latter (script)
Starring Carice van Houten
Rutger Hauer
Liam Cunningham
Release dates
  • March 31, 2011 (2011-03-31)
Running time 110 minutes
Country Netherlands
Language English

Black Butterflies is a Dutch film about the life of South-African poet Ingrid Jonker. The film was directed by Paula van der Oest and premiered in the Netherlands on February 6 before being released on March 31, 2011. Although Jonker spoke and wrote in Afrikaans and the film is a Dutch production, the film is spoken in English.


The film is a depiction of the life of Ingrid Jonker (1933–65) (played by Van Houten), an Afrikaner. Her mother has died in a mental hospital, she lives with her sister at her grandmother's. After the passing of her grandmother Ingrid and her sister come to live with their father Abraham (played by Hauer), who treats them as outsiders. Ingrid marries, and gives birth to a daughter, but the marriage does not last. It is the era of apartheid, of which her father is a strong proponent, being South Africa's Minister of Censorship. Ingrid is opposed to the apartheid regime, and has a strained relationship with her father. He opposes her relationship with author Jack Cope (played by Cunningham) and her anti-apartheid poetry, which is inciteful in his eyes. He would like to ban one of her works but doesn't, fearing a widespread riot. As Ingrid keeps opposing the regime in her poetry, their relationship becomes even more strained and he tells her he never wants to see her ever again.



It holds a score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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