9 minutes





Butterflies are reborn as memories of a past love in this striking visual poem

The celebrated Moroccan filmmaker Sofia El Khyari’s latest animation is the enchanting Shadow of the Butterflies, in which winged creatures are transformed into metaphors for nostalgia, longing and regret. Featuring hand-drawn visuals crafted from watercolour and ink, the short film depicts a young woman alone in a forest rendered in black and white, while butterflies in a wide spectrum of colours flicker and float around her. When they move into her world, the creatures seem to enchant and seduce her before fluttering out of view, leaving her forlorn in their absence. While the perspective mimics the free-flowing movements of a butterfly, El Khayari’s work is intricately choreographed, requiring a large team of animators and other artists to help bring her ideas to life. A soundscape of ambient forest noise and pensive music, with vocals sung by El Khyari herself, adds another layer of intimacy to the project, portraying complex emotions in a manner that feels at once personal and universal.

Director: Sofia El Khyari