On the surface, Rafael Kapelinski’s feature debut “Butterfly Kisses” looks to fit neatly into a certain subset of angsty teen dramas set against the backdrop of London’s drab housing estates, but something far darker — and, admittedly, much more complicated — looms just below the surface of the filmmaker’s dramatic offering.
“Butterfly Kisses” premiered last week at the Berlinale and stars a young and up-and-coming British cast, including Theo Stevenson (“Humans”), Rosie Day (“Outlander”) and Thomas Turgoose (“This is England”). The film was shot entirely in black and white, and it appears to earn all the moodiness that such a style implies.
Ostensibly concerned with a pack of teen friends goofing about around their council estate home, the film follows a trio of dudes — Kyle, Jarred and Jake — as they navigate such relatable themes as boredom, sex, love, pornography and friendship. It’s clear from the get-go, however that Jake (Stevenson) is a little bit different than his more outspoken and gruff pals, and is someone who enjoys solitude, observing people and doing his own thing. When Jake appears to take up an interest in a new local lass, unexpected consequences abound.
Jake, you see, has a secret. A big one.
Per the film’s official synopsis: “We follow Jake and his two best friends, Kyle and Jarred through a world distorted by sex and porn. The leader is Kyle – he talks about girls non-stop, Jarred can’t stop cheating on his girlfriend and then there’s Jake, a quiet and shy teenager whose friends are determined to help him lose his virginity to Zara, the pretty girl on the 19th floor of their estate. All three are trying to find their way in a complex world. They all have their demons, but Jake’s secret is one that he must keep to himself.”
Check out our exclusive trailer and poster for “Butterfly Kisses” below.
“Butterfly Kisses” will screen this week at the Berlin International Film Festival. Find out more at the film’s official festival page.