Saturday, February 11, 2012

Papillon Bleu

A blue butterfly is...
a magical creature and at the moment you see it, you must offer the blue butterfly your dreams. The blue butterfly will take your dreams to the Great Spirit. Blue morpho uses his beauty to lure people into the forest whose spirit will be lost forever.

This quote was taken from a clip in the 2004 Quebec (French-Canadian) film Papillon Bleu (Blue Butterfly). The man, a shaman from an ancient indigenous group in Costa Rica, is a member of the Bribri people claim to be descendants of the butterfly. The film is based on a true story.

In 1987, entomologist Georges Brossard founder of the Montreal Insectarium, fulfilled the last wish of a terminally ill young boy David Marenger, by taking him to the rain forest to find a blue morpho. After his return, David's cancer had disappeared and he was healed.

A little girl in the movie, calls the blue butterfly un miracolo (a miracle) and es todo (everything). The movie is sweet and endearing but predictable. Some details of the true story were changed for the big screen. For example, David Marenger is named Pete Carlton. Instead of 6 years old, Pete is 13. The boy who plays Pete in the film displays such a blind optimism and the journey to finding the blue butterfly and consequently a partner for his widowed mother. Instead of the very eccentric and extremely passionate Brossard, we get the dull, guarded, and awkward Alan Osborne played by Canadian actor William Hurt. I enjoyed Pete's journey which took the plot into the very colourful Costa Rican rainforest which was beautifully filmed and enhanced by detailed cinematography and digital special effects. The film inspired me to dream, a dream to see the real blue butterfly in a Costa Rican rainforest.

I had not known about this film until after I developed my Blue Butterfly blog. One sweet detail that I learned from the DVD's special features is that David Marenger is still alive today. Thanks to the film, he has begun to work with children who have cancer. From Marenger, he learned to capture and preserve butterflies which he then gives to sick children.