POV: The Song Of The Butterflies
Premieres Monday, Aug. 30, 2021 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV / On Demand
The national broadcast premiere of Catalan-Peruvian filmmaker Núria Frigola Torrent’s debut feature documentary, “The Song Of The Butterflies” (El canto de las mariposas) is part of POV’s 34th season. This film is Torrent’s first feature as director after producing Peruvian filmmaker Ernesto Cabellos’ “Daughter of the Lake” in 2015.
Winner of the Best Iberoamerican Film award at the Guadalajara International Film Festival in 2020, and an official selection at the 2020 Havana Film Festival and 2021 Seattle International Film Festival, “The Song Of The Butterflies” spotlights indigenous histories of storytelling and processes of collective memory, trauma, and healing in the Peruvian Amazon.
A nuanced depiction of contemporary indigenous life, Frigola’s debut documentary follows Rember Yahuarcani, an Indigenous painter from the White Heron clan of the Uitoto Nation in Peru.
Rember left home to pursue a successful career in Lima, but when he finds himself in a creative rut, he returns home to his Amazonian community of Pebas to visit his father, a painter, and his mother, a sculptor.
Through the stories and dreams of his parents and his grandmother, he confronts the horrors his community faced as a result of the rubber boom in Peru, immersing himself in the past so that he can rediscover his own creativity.
“We sail all our lives between the origin and the world, just to find ourselves” said director Nuria Frigola Torrent. “'The Song Of The Butterflies' is an invitation to navigate this journey and allow the audience to plunge into their own identities. It’s also an exercise in collective memory, to remember what happened one hundred years ago to the indigenous people from Amazonia, which is still echoing in the resistance of their descendants like Rember and his family.”
“As a journalist and film producer, I know that good stories can change minds, and that’s what we hope to do with 'The Song Of The Butterflies,'” said producer Rolando Toledo. “When we received the proposal to produce this documentary, we immediately said yes; this project directly faces the intercultural reality of Peru and touches upon one of most unknown episodes in contemporary world history: the rubber massacre. The Amazon has been out of the political and social agenda both in Peru and globally. If we don’t start considering this area of the planet as a priority, the risks are enormous.”
Evoking indigenous cosmologies that center the role of the natural world in one’s lived experience, Rember communes with both the spirit of his grandmother and the creatures of the Amazon to carry on his family’s tradition of visual storytelling — an act of both personal and communal healing.
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The film will also be available on demand for free for 30 days at pov.org until Oct. 29, 2021.
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A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting and Vision Maker Media. Director/Producer: Núria Frigola Torrent. Producer: Rolando Toledo Vega. Associate Producers: Chela de Ferrari, Ernesto Cabellos Damián, Victoria Arellano, Jamie Villa, Alexandra Álvarez-Araujo. Editor: Nicolé H. Céspedes. Cinematographer: Nicolas Landa. Music: Karin Zielinski. Executive Producers for POV: Erika Dilday, Justine Nagan, and Chris White.