Adrian Carey’s Mariposas takes audiences into a surreal and poetic world. It is based on an Argentinean short story by Samanta Schweblin. In Hispanic culture, magical realism is a dominant genre. It can best be described as fantasy mixed with a realistic environment. Don’t go into Carey’s film expecting a story like The Wizard of Oz. A mainstream example is the Oscar-winning Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Alejandro Iñárritu. Iñárritu’s film features crazy imagery like Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson interacting with his Birdman persona as an action scene occurs on New York’s streets. Carey’s film is less literal than this acclaimed drama. It is a short that puts the audience into a unique psychological space through a realistic scenario.
“ Mark…. boasts… about how smart and beautiful his daughter is.”
The film follows parents waiting outside of a school for their children on a seemingly normal day. Mark, an arrogant father (Miguel Belmonte), boasts to another parent, Carlos (Rocco Salata), about how smart and beautiful his daughter is. As he brags, a butterfly mysteriously lands on his shoulder. To him, he sees this delicate creature as a gift for his daughter. It all seems perfect until he breaks its wing. He disregards the creature arrogantly until a swarm of butterflies flies outside the doors. Initially, the parents are confused and scared. Carlos and the other parents soon realize the butterflies are their children. Will Mark realize what is actually going on?
Adrian Carey delivers a poignant film with minimal dialogue. Miguel Belmonte delivers a strong performance as Mark. His ability to switch from charismatic to distraught is convincing. Carey gives him several close-ups that reveal the many layers of his personality. The special effects on the butterflies are seamless. When watching the film, the creatures are animated in a realistic style. It works incredibly due to the mix of CGI and practical effects. Rocco Salata also steals the film in his brief scenes as Carlos. He wears sunglasses for the entirety of the short’s brief runtime, yet his body language is subtle with naturalistic hand gestures. This is an artsy film that can still be applicable to a mainstream audience. Parents will find the story relatable and get an emotional reaction out of it.
"…Carlos and the other parents soon realize the butterflies are their children."