Tribeca Exclusive Video Interview: Black Butterflies


There have been so many films set in South Africa that have covered the decades of Apartheid over the years one would think there’s very little ground to cover, but Black Butterflies, directed by Paula van der Oest, who helmed the Oscar-nominated Zus & zo, takes a different approach by looking at the country’s civil unrest through the eyes of one of the country’s great poets, Ingrid Jonker.

Taking place in the early ’60s at the height of Apartheid, Jonker is played by Carice van Houten (Valkyrie, Black Book), as the film follows her turbulent relationship with author Jack Cope, played by Liam Cunningham, from their first meeting. At the time, Jonker was rebelling against her racist father, a high-ranking official who was in charge of the censorship of literature, and who is played in the film by legendary Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. After Jonker’s death in 1965, her poems were embraced by the anti-Apartheid movement, and one of them was even read by Nelson Mandela in 1994 at the opening of the first democratic Parliament. sat down with the director and actress for a quick interview at the Tribeca Film Festival, which you can watch below. (Our apologies to the ladies for the noisy setting and if the lighting wasn’t as flattering as we normally like for these interviews, but we had to make a last-minute change in venue.)

Black Butterflies is playing two more times at the Tribeca Film Festival, on Tuesday at 3:30pm and Friday at 10PM, both at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas.