7.6/10
3,112
28 user 19 critic

Swallowtail Butterfly (1996)

Suwarôteiru (original title)
The struggles of a group of immigrant outcasts living in an alternative-future, xenophobic Japanese metropolis.

Director:

Shunji Iwai

Writer:

Shunji Iwai
Reviews
4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hiroshi Mikami ... Feihong
Chara Chara ... Glico
Ayumi Itô ... Ageha
Yôsuke Eguchi ... Ryou Ryanki
Andy Chi-On Hui ... Maofuu
Atsuro Watabe Atsuro Watabe ... Ran
Tomoko Yamaguchi Tomoko Yamaguchi ... Shenmei
Nene Ohtsuka Nene Ohtsuka ... Reiko
Kaori Momoi ... Suzukino
Yoriko Dôguchi ... Hoshino (as Yoriko Doguchi)
Mickey Curtis Mickey Curtis ... Doctor
Tetsu Watanabe ... Yakuza boss
Sansei Shiomi Sansei Shiomi
Shirô Takehatsu Shirô Takehatsu ... (as Shiro Takehatsu)
Shiek Mahmud-Bey Shiek Mahmud-Bey ... Arrow
Edit

Storyline

After a young girl's mother dies, she is cared for by Glico, a brassy hooker, who gives the girl the name "Ageha" (Butterfly). Ageha goes to work for a collection of oddballs who run a junkyard and salvage business. Written by sharptongue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the story of Yentowns in Yentown.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English | Mandarin

Release Date:

14 September 1996 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Perhonen sydämessä See more »

Edit

Box Office

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rockwell Eyes See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

This sure isn't "Shigatsu Monogatari"
10 November 2001 | by regi0n2fanSee all my reviews

This is not anything like Iwai Shunji's "Shigatsu Monogatari", with its rather innocent themes and situations. In contrast, "Swallowtail Butterfly" jumps right in with stylized shots of destitute living, seedy shantytowns full of drugs and prostitution, and somewhat gratuitous violence. It was surprising that more than a third of the dialogue was in some form of English, seeing as how the Yentowns all seemed to come from the lower rungs of their respective non-English-speaking countries (i.e., those not able to attend English classes at the grade school and higher level), excepting of course the American boxer. How ironic that they managed to speak better English than most Japanese who have taken several years of English in school. The non-English-speaking white guy was an interesting touch, as was the casting of Yosuke Eguchi as an ethnic Chinese gangster. By far the most confusing characters were Yamaguchi Tomoko and Watabe Atsuro, cast as some sort of foreign (US?)-trained counter narcotics operators. Obviously, such a "black" unit would not be politically viable in Japan, hence the presence of an American-accented squad leader and the exclusive use of (bad) English between Yama-chan and Watabe-kun. I realize that their main objective was to terminate Rianki's counterfeiting ring, but why would they do it by helping Yentowns scam millions of yen from cash machine owners? Don't even get me started on the impossibility of taking out a target on a moving train. Surely, Iwai Shunji's watched "La Femme Nikita" too many times, but even Luc Besson wouldn't have one of his characters pull off such an impossible objective. Overall, the movie was depressing, enlightening, sad, disturbing, and in some ways entertaining (Tomo-chan's scene with the anti-tank weapon was immensely funny). Did i like it? Well, yes.


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