- Hide menu

Black Butterflies

The riveting true life – and love – story of talented young South African poet Ingrid Jonker — a strong-headed woman and disobedient white artist during turbulent 1960s South Africa.

From an early age, Ingrid found her freedom and solace in writing, whenever and wherever she could. Rejected by her father, who worked as Minister of Censorship in the Apartheid regime, she struggled to find a home and love. Her brilliant writing, coupled with a fragile emotional and mental state ultimately led to her untimely death by suicide.

It was not until Nelson Mandela read one of her moving poems in his first speech to the South African Parliament during the 1990s that she found her final recognition.

Cast & Crew

Directed byPaula van der Oest
Produced by Michael Auret, Richard Claus, Frans van Gestel and Arry Voorsmit
Written by Greg Latter
Starring Carice van Houten, Rutger Hauer and Liam Cunningham


Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film – Tribeca Film Festival 2011
Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Editing – Golden Calves 2011
Golden Film – Golden and Platin Film 2011
Audience Award for Best Film – Taormina Film Festival 2011
Best Feature Film, Best Cinematographer, Best Production Designer, Best Music Composition, Best Makeup, Best Costume Designer – South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) 2012
Best Dutch Actress – Rembrandt Awards 2012

News and Reviews

New York Times – ‘Black Butterflies,’ a Biopic About the Poet Ingrid Jonker

Hollywood Reporter – “conventional yet captivating thanks in large part to a terrific lead performance from Carice van Houten.”

Variety – The uncompromising power of Ingrid Jonker’s poetry runs like a pulsing vein through “Black Butterflies.”

Time Out – Carice van Houten (Black Book) is superb as the emotionally unstable Jonker

New York Observer – a dark, moving depiction of the life and death of a brave rebellious, idiosyncratic woman