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As Borboletas Também Amam (1979)

| Drama
Monica, a naive schoolgirl from a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, meets Virginia, a former neighbor, now living in Copacabana. Influenced by her, she decides to take on a double life: in the ... See full summary »


J.B. Tanko


J.B. Tanko (screenplay), J.B. Tanko (story)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Paulo Porto Paulo Porto ... Raimundo / teacher-Mônica's client
Rossana Ghessa Rossana Ghessa ... Virgínia / Mônica's former neighbour
Neila Tavares Neila Tavares ... Matilde / Esposa de Raimundo-Raimundo's Wife
Angelina Muniz Angelina Muniz ... Mônica / prostitute
Arlindo Barreto Arlindo Barreto ... Flávio / Mônica's lover-Raimundo's son
Nestor de Montemar Nestor de Montemar ... Carlito / Empregado do bordel-Brothel Employee
Nélia Paula Nélia Paula ... Lou / Brothel Madame
Francisco Di Franco ... Amante de Matilde / Matilde's lover
Wilson Grey
Abel Prazer Abel Prazer
Carlos Kurt Carlos Kurt ... Tarado / perverted
Jotta Barroso Jotta Barroso ... Senhora no ônibus / Lady on the bus
Duarte de Moraes Duarte de Moraes
Catalina Bonakie Catalina Bonakie
Alberico Bruno Alberico Bruno


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Monica, a naive schoolgirl from a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, meets Virginia, a former neighbor, now living in Copacabana. Influenced by her, she decides to take on a double life: in the morning she is the suburban girl, in the afternoon she attends a brothel in the South Zone. One day she meets Flávio, a friend and eventual lover of Virginia. Flávio falls in love with the purity of Monica and wants to drive away her friends, for considering Virginia a bad company for her beloved. Going back to class, Monica discovers that the math teacher, Raimundo, is one of her most frequent clients. Flávio, upon learning of her double life, invades the brothel and meets his father, Raimundo. Threatened, father confesses: Flávio is not his son. His mother, Matilde had given herself to a stranger to have a child, since he is barren. Seeing his secret revealed, the mother commits suicide.

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Only Death knows the secrets of Life!
6 May 2009 | by andrabemSee all my reviews

"As borboletas também amam" (borboleta means butterfly, but it can also mean prostitute in slang) translated into English would be something like: "Even whores can fall in love". A strange title!

The film begins with a pursuit scene that ends up with a man and a woman embracing each other delineated against a skyline of buildings and neon lights. Cut. The title "As borboletas também amam" is shown against a yellow backdrop and then, against a rose backdrop, we see the drawing of a butterfly and beside it, it's written: "Só a morte sabe as verdades da vida" (freely translated - Only death knows the secrets of life). And the quotation is signed: Goethe. A beautiful piano motif underlines it all.

The piano motif goes on. A beautiful woman is walking alone in the night looking at the shop windows. The men stare hungrily at her. A man accosts her and speaks with her. She leads him to a lounge bar. He asks her the traditional question. How did she end up like that?

She is Mônica (Angelina Muniz). She was a schoolgirl and lived with her parents in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. The life they led was simple, no luxuries were allowed - Copacabana, beautiful clothes, disco nights.... just expensive and far away dreams. Sometimes Mônica went to Copacabana just to window shop, walk along the beach... One day Mônica is strolling in Copacabana and she meets her friend Virginia (Rossana Ghessa) together with some friends. One of them is Flavio.

Virginia, unknown to the others, is a high class hooker and she will introduce Mônica into this life. New characters and plot points will appear in the story that will later veer into melodrama territory and will become also a naive (and almost childish) statement against hypocrisy!

Even if "As borboletas também amam" is labeled as a pornochanchada, it is by no means a comedy, it's much more an erotic drama. The film takes itself very seriously, as the Goethe(?) quotation and the classical piano score prove.

I think that the film in itself could not be said to be moralistic, it rather portrays a moralistic society. The film drew some inspiration from the Nelson Rodrigues's universe (Nelson Rodrigues's plays criticize the hypocrisy and lunacy in which the middle class lives). But the depth displayed by Nelson Rodrigues is gone here. The characters are flat and the story is schematic, and particularly near the end, it dives head on into absurdity. This is at least, the way you could see the film if you stopped to analyze it, but if you just give your brain a rest and flow with the film, the picture may be very different...

"As borboletas também amam" is romantic and emotionally sincere, it tries for sophistication, but it's very simple and naive - that is its charm. As for feminine beauty, take the lovely Angelina Muniz as Mônica, and the also beautiful Rossana Ghessa as Virginia (they are not shy in shedding off their clothes when necessary, but the nudity is not gratuitous given the nature of the story).

The action in the final part of the film is quite delirious and the ending virtually defies belief! "As borboletas também amam" was seen by more than one million people in Brazil.

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