In the Time of the Butterflies

Synopsis: On November 25, 1960, the bodies of three sisters were found near the bottom of a cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official daily 'El Caribe' reports that it had been an accident, but it does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it mention the sisters' fierce opposition to the General Trujillo's dictatorship. This is their story: how Minerva started the tragedy by refusing Trujillo; how Patria became an opponent from the church itself; how Maria Teresa joined the revolution through the love. And how they lost their wings, but not their courage. They were Las Mariposas - "The Butterflies".
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Mariano Barroso
Production: MGM
  2 wins & 2 nominations.
95 min

Funny, the things we forget...

...the little moments we tuck away

inside our minds.

Maybe we put them there for safekeeping... they won't dull and lose their glow

from too much handling.

Maybe we know the time will come...

...when we'll need to summon

these memories.

Summon splendor,

soaring in the wind like butterflies.

I can't think of a happier time in my life...

...than my childhood

with my sisters in Ojo de Agua.

Dede, Patria, Minerva, Mate!

- Dinner is ready!

- Come on. Go.

- Silly bunny.

- Minerva!

Go to your room! Right now!

You're not fair, Papa.

I don't need to be lectured on fairness,

Minerva Mirabal.

But it was an accident.

Dede and Patria didn't break the china,

they only dropped it. The floor broke it.

Come on, Papa, they were just trying to

help Mama set the table. Nobody got hurt.

They have to learn the value of things.

Okay, I have a deal for you.

They broke two plates, one glass

and one cup, total value of three pesos.

- We have agreed...

- Eat your dinner.

We have agreed that you can take

10 cents out of everyone's allowance...

...for the next eight weeks,

but let my sisters out of the house.

Minerva is going to argue

with St. Peter at the gates.

I'm just trying to help my sisters.

- She's representing us.

- She's our lawyer.

Just what we need in this country,

skirts on the bench.

Which brings me to my next subject.

School applications are due next week.

You can forget about that.

But why?

I don't want you to go to school

and be out there alone, without a family.

I won't,

if you allow my sisters to come with me.

Enrique, you've got the money.

And most important, our social position.

Now our daughters need

the education to go along with it.

And our Patria, if she is to become a nun...

How could anyone want to sacrifice

nice dresses to wear those awful habits?

That's no sacrifice at all.

It's a waste of a pretty girl.

That's what it is.

Besides, if all my little chickens leave,

what will become of me?

Who will help me with my business?

I'll stay and help you, Papa.

You see? It's settled.

- Nothing is settled.

- Dede will stay with you.

You'll do as I say.

Nobody's going to leave this house.

- Bye, Minerva.

- Bye.

Bye, Papa. Thank you.

- Minerva.

- Thank you, Mama.

- Take care. Minerva, behave.

- Yes, Mama.

And God bless you.

We should have stayed home,

where we belong.

How could we know where we belong?

We only know the farm.

Thank you.

Our Holy Mother Church,

Mother Superior...

...our families and country,

and our beloved President Trujillo.


In the name of the Father,

the Son, and the Holy Ghost, amen.

Take this.

I don't want your charity.

It's not charity. It's a friendship pin.

As sinners, all women are likely

to get sick around this time in their life.

And the illness comes

in the shape of blood...

...blood that represents the sin

of our forefathers, Adam and Eve.

As soon as you feel that you may have

any new complications within your body... should come to see me.

So, the donkey climbs on top

of the she-donkey...

...and he puts its peeing thing

inside her peeing thing.

Then, the donkey,

he starts making this really loud noise...

...and the she-donkey kicks her hind legs.

People, they do it, too. Your father...

My father is dead.

Well then, your uncle and your aunt...

My uncles are dead, too.

As I am quite sure you have

all heard by now...

...we are extremely fortunate.

Our generous benefactor has agreed

to honor us with his presence... Inmaculada Concepcin.

President Trujillo has always been

very generous to our school...

...and we want this to be

a special opportunity to honor him.

On a day like today,

the 24th of October of 1891...

...Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was born.

Our motherland was reborn that day.

We are deeply honored

to have as our guest today...

...our beloved President Trujillo.

For my motherland, for my people...

...I must do more than what has been done.

The motherland is the future, and

we are the ones who shall make history.

The future will crown the brave,

the hardworking people...

...and we will walk towards it

with confidence...

...shielded by our commitment

to serve humanity.

"I am the shackled fatherland.

"Dare I now hope for freedom

from my woes?

"O, Liberty, unfold your brilliant bow. "

I am free!

Thanks be to Liberty

and our blessed benefactor! Viva Trujillo!

Splendid performance.

What is your name?

Minerva Mirabal.

You're very pretty, Minerva.

And brave. I remember that name.

Viva Trujillo!

Open your eyes, Minerva.

You speak out against El Jefe,

and poof, you disappear.

If your family asks too many questions,

poof, they disappear, too.

This can't be true, Sinita.

Who's been telling you all this?

You haven't been listening to me,

have you?

He killed my father, he killed my brother,

he killed my uncles... he's killed thousands in this country.

Now are you listening to me?

There are many things you don't know

about your General Trujillo.

Hey, look. Please, look. Come on, please.

Where are they taking Lina?

Lina never came back to school.

There were stories.

She lived in a big mansion,

she carried Trujillo's baby...

...she was banished to Miami.

All I knew was that she was gone.

So was Sinita.

She vanished.

And I was afraid to find out why.

We're almost there. Look.

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Julia Álvarez

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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