Tribeca Film Festival: Black Butterflies and Nelson Mandela


ARTS EXPRESS: Director Paula van der Oest phones in from Holland to shed light on her dark biopic Black Butterflies, about the late Afrikaner anti-apartheid white South African poet, Ingrid Jonker. Nelson Mandela reads her poetry.

Listen to Black Butterflies Coverage Here:

This stunning and quite sorrowful biopic is currently screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Dutch actress Carice von Houten [Black Book, Repo Men] stars as the late South African mid-20th century Afrikaner rebel poet, Ingrid Yonker.

Her poetic protests against apartheid and its intertwining with her own emotionally fragile state in Black Butterflies, are difficult to distinguish. And compounded by her cruel, contemptuous father Abraham Jonker, played by Rutger Hauer, who happened to be the apartheid regime’s stern Minister of Censorship.

And Ingrid, much as the likewise psychologically distraught Virginia Woolf, in large part in large part a reaction to just being a woman in the world back then, ended her life on July 19, 1965. By walking into the sea and drowning herself.

But Ingrid Yonker was in no way forgotten, as Nelson Mandela reads her poetry three decades later at the convening of the very first post-apartheid South African Parliament. Writer/director Paola van der Oest describes with extraordinary compassionate insight, this tragic life and time.