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M. Butterfly

Poster for the movie "M. Butterfly"


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In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.

Collections: David Cronenberg

Tagline: Passion. Power. Revenge. In All Their Majesty.

Genres: Romance, Drama


Official Website: 
Language:  普通话, English
Release Date:  9 September 1993

Box Office

Revenue:  $1,499,795

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Geffen Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 41 min

Rene Gallimard, a French ambassador in China in the 1960s, falls in love with Song Liling, an opera singer – but Song isn’t who Gallimard believes she is.

René Gallimard (Jeremy Irons), a French ambassador deployed to Beijing, China, in the 1960s, is loosely based on actual events (see Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu). He falls in love with Song Liling (John Lone), a Peking opera star who works for the People’s Republic of China and spies on him. Their relationship lasts 20 years, and they eventually marry, with Gallimard seemingly unconscious (or wilfully ignorant) of the fact that Dan parts in Peking opera are generally played by males. Gallimard commits suicide at the end of the film (although the man he is based on, Bernard Boursicot, did not do this in real life..