Butterfly Man (2002) - Synopsis

Butterfly Man (2002) - synopsis headingHaving split up with his girlfriend upon arrival in Bangkok, a young English backpacker, Adam (Stuart Laing), arrives on an island in the Gulf of Thailand. During a game of volleyball on the beach, he notices a beautiful Thai girl. When the volleyball knocks over the girl's som tam salad, he hurriedly overpays the vendor for another dish. She is touched by his generosity. He is called back to the game, but when he next looks around, she is gone.

Adam is on the lookout for the girl that evening, and meets a seemingly friendly ex-pat bar owner called Joey (Francis Magee). By luck he finds her in the back room of a local massage parlour that Joey takes him to. Their intimacy is developed by a sensual massage, a simple conversation and the arrangement to meet the next day. Against an exotic backdrop the girl, Em (Napakpapha Nakprasitte), takes Adam to a waterfall. He wins her affection and she his.

However, that evening, after celebrating this exhilarating feeling with drinking and dancing, Adam is seduced by a bar girl, Noi (Vasa Vatcharayon). He goes back to Noi's bungalow and is seen by one of Em's friends. Em is not surprised to hear this from her friend, Adam is just like every other Westerner on holiday - a 'butterfly man' - flitting from one girl to another.

The following morning Adam lies to Em. She keeps quiet but that evening she goes to Adam's bungalow. As they begin to make love, Adam becomes drowsy. Em leaves - that night the bungalow is broken into and Adam's money stolen.

When Adam confronts Em, she becomes offended and finishes their relationship. Penniless, Adam accepts some courier work from Joey's boss, Bill Kincaid. He takes a package to the next island.

Whilst Adam is away, the couple come up in each other's thoughts. But when Adam learns that Em is a potential victim of a plot trafficking Thai women to the West (Bill's package contains forged passports), he has to warn her. Equally, Em needs to warn Adam of the danger awaiting him now that he hasn't delivered the passports.

When they secretly meet Adam tries to persuade Em to come with him back to England, but she cannot, she has a family in the poor Northeast of Thailand to support. She gives him the address of her village and suggests that he writes and that maybe one day circumstances will be more favourable for a romance. Adam reluctantly accepts her logic, but before he leaves, Em shows him an escape route off the island.

However, when Adam discovers that Em has been punished by Bill with a sever beating for warning him off, he has no choice but to go back and rescue her. He manages to find her with the help of Noi, and on a night time crossing to the mainland in a sea-gypsy fishing boat, he declares his commitment. They make a symbolic marriage, but she is already dying from her injuries, and when they reach the harbour all he can do is carry his dead bride ashore.

Adam's final act is to take her body home, and he does this travelling the length of Thailand with just her hand written note. He finds the village, her mother and baby sister and demonstrates his ultimate commitment to Em by remaining in the village to support them as a Thai son-in-law would.

De Warrenne Pictures