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Nadia, Butterfly Is An End-Of-The-Dream Expose



Nadia, Butterfly

Nadia, Butterfly

Pascal Plante
Pascal Plante

Katerine Savard,Ariane Mainville,Hilary Caldwell

While young and in her prime, Nadia decides to retire from pro swimming after the Olympic Games; to escape a rigid life of sacrifice. After her very last race, Nadia drifts into nights of excess punctuated by episodes of self-doubt. But even this transitional numbness cannot conceal her true inner quest: defining her identity outside the world of elite sports

Rating: ** ½

Nadia, Butterfly Movie Review: This is  a not-unhappy film about the end  of the road.  When  we meet  Nadia , she has just retired  from  competitive  swimming at the Olympics 2020. Of  course the Olympics 2020 happened  in  Tokyo  in  July 2021 , and    there was  no Nadia in the Olympics 2020 or 21. But the  film looks and feels  so real  it is a miracle we don’t  mistake this work of fiction for a documentary.

When we met Nadia(played by Canadian  champion swimmer  Katerine  Savard) she has just announced  her retirement  from  the game at  the  2020  Olympics.  It is a heartbreaking  moment for any  sportsperson  specially one who has conquered   innumerable  peaks  in  her chosen  field of activity at a very young  age  and now stares at a  void. Nadia, as  played by the  disquietingly  natural Savard ,  avoids the  void.

 The  film is disappointing for its short-term vision. We  look at  Nadia  in the hours that go by after  the retirement announcement. Those anxious sweaty hours  are  vividly visualized in  the narration, almost as if  the  director Pascal Plante wanted to not think about the abyss that  lies ahead in Nadia’s career.

 If we look at Nadia’s  movements after the retirement announcemen,t  it just seems like  a crowd of unrelated events. There is one afterparty where  everyone is  making out  with everyone. It will make you wonder if athletes  at the Olympics  turn hedonistic after pack-up. But  the film gives us no  space to be  judgemental  about Nadia behaviour as she   moves from an orgiastic  party to a  reflective conversation with two of her team mates over drinks.

What  finally  put me off  this  remarkable  but  highly dissatisfying film  was it lack of emotion and ambition. It could have said so much about Nadia’s  life after  the game  but chooses  to stick closely to her   hours after the announcement  afraid to go any further into the  journey with the  now-exiled global  athlete.

The  one breakdown sequence that Nadia  has  in the seclusion of her clothes-change  tent as her friends  console her from  the  outside,  shook me up. Giving up your  work, your life your dreams , and that too at 23,  isn’t easy. Nadia,Butterfly  doesn’t seem to care  beyond the immediate .The swimming  sequences are  far  more interesting than  the free-floating ones.

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