Saturday, May 5, 2018

Film Review: Cady McClain Directs Butterflies Written/Starring Carlotta Summers: See this Short with A Big Message About Bullying at Ridgewood Guild Film Festival

Review by Beth Abramson Brier

Thirteen short minutes. A significant amount of time- adolescence perhaps-in the short few weeks of a butterfly’s lifespan. Enough time for a metamorphosis. Adapt. Evolve. Survive.

Butterflies captures and pins under glass for all to see the effects of bullying. There is limited dialogue. Little is needed. It is visually poetic and lyrical. The stunning cinematography depicts the painful transition from beauty and innocence to the scarred and profane. I was struck by images of blushing peonies so vivid they were actually fragrant and, later, skin scratched so raw it was painful. I looked down at my own arm.

The story line is all too familiar. A young girl, Melanie, enjoys carefree childhood days playing in the sun with her best friend. They each wear half a butterfly necklace that together make one. And then they become teenagers separated by the omnipresent “mean girls”. The girls who dismiss Melanie with stinging racial slurs. The girls who claim they are the ones who are misunderstood. The girls who tell Melanie she is not enough. The once best friend who tells Melanie that she is to blame.

Director Cady McClain with Writer Carolotta Summers                                                 Photo by Champion Hamilton
Fittingly, the best friend has no name. In fact, besides Melanie, the only other character given a name is, ironically (I believe) “Mr. Washington” who lectures about the life cycle of the butterfly with little enthusiasm. Although Mr. Washington stands up in front the class he continually fails Melanie. He dismisses her answers. He disregards the class.
You May Like: Interview with Cady McClain Here-

In the safe cocoon of home Melanie draws strength from her mother. She begs to borrow her mother’s shirt and earrings; to be protected in her mother’s clothes. When the fabric fails to be an armor, she sheds the silk blouse for boxing gloves, resolved to fight in order to survive. Melanie fights for the right to walk away from the mean girls. Walk away from her BFF. Walk away from Mr. Washington.

Carlotta Summers stars as Melanie in this film under the direction of Cady McClain with music by Prom. The message is clear. Bullying destroys. It destroys young dreams. It destroys friendships. On a macro level, it destroys the soul of a nation.

For trailer:





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