Chattanooga Film Festival: Giving Birth to a Butterfly (2021)

Mirna Loy once wrote:

“We might have coupled
In the bed-ridden monopoly of a moment
Or broken flesh with one another
At the profane communion table
Where wine is spilled on promiscuous lips

We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily news
Printed in blood on its wings.”

She also once wrote that the inward dimension or the fifth dimension was the source of great art and literature, as well as where genius resides.

So between a poem that lamented the loss of her relationship with Futurist Giovanni Papini and her worry that she’d forever lost any ability to feel sexual yearning again, as well as her thoughts on how the superconscious — “We are but a ramshackle edifice around an external exaltation, a building in which the moralities are a flight of stairs whose bases dissolve in the wake of our ascension” — really have a lot to do with this film, even more than giving it a title.

The Dents, Diane and Daryl, (real life couple Annie Parisse and Paul Sparks) are a married couple who we get the feeling have forgotten why they ever came together but cannot forget that they could honestly leave each other or leave each other dead at any moment. There’s constant tension brimming, all while Diane has her identity stolen, Daryl has dreams that the family is forced to follow, their daughter Danielle (Rachel Resheff) becomes part of a school play, their son Andrew has a pregnant girlfriend named Marlene (Gus Birney) who tries to become part of the family as her mother Monica (Constance Shulman) loudly exclaims that she’s a famous actress who has become forgotten.

When Diane decides to figure out who took her identity and why they’ve taken all of the family’s money, she enlists Marlene’s aid and sets off on a road trip. When they knock on the door of the people behind the crime, they meet two white-haired twins — both named Nina, both played by Judith Roberts — who are not living on the same wavelength as the rest of the world.

Diane has spent years — decades? — making everyone else happy and always finding herself in the role of the bad guy. And yet she keeps working extra hours and selling her clothes and just giving in to every infraction but certainly, it all has to be too much at some time, right?

Director Theodore Schaefer, who co-wrote the story with Patrick Lawler, gives in to surrealism at the end, as the world of the real becomes unreal and may give the two women at the center of the story the opening they need to change the direction of their lives.

The superconscious has the ability to acquire knowledge through psychic methods, then pass that knowledge on to our conscious mind, transcending the ways that we normally perceive the world, allowing us the ability to process more information and more importantly, make more changes to ourselves. It’s where true creativity is found.

This is about 77 minutes of said superconscious.

Want to see it for yourself? It’s now playing as part of the Chattanooga Film Fest. Virtual tickets are available at

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