The Ukrainian Film Butterfly Vision (2022) And Women's Resistance To Wartime Trauma




"Butterfly Vision", wartime rape, women's resilience, Ukrainian cinema; sexual violence in war; Maksym Nakonechnyi; female soldiers; post-trauma recovery


This article explores the Ukrainian film Butterfly Vision (2022) by Maksym Nakonechnyi, which addresses the complex themes of wartime rape, women's resistance to wartime trauma, and the societal repercussions of such acts. Set against the backdrop of the occupation of Donbas, the film focuses on the life of Lilia, a female soldier who returns home from captivity to face the reality of her pregnancy resulting from rape. Through Lilia's journey, the film challenges societal norms and the trivialization of wartime rape, highlighting the struggle of women to reclaim their bodies and identities in the aftermath of violence.
The article examines the legal and historical context of wartime rape, citing the transformation in its perception from a 'crime of honor' to a recognized instrument of war and colonization, as evidenced by the Rome Statute and research on genocidal rape. It emphasizes the role of filmmakers in making visible the often overlooked or minimized narratives of wartime sexual violence.

In its analysis, the article contrasts Lilia's personal battle with broader discussions on the representation of women in cinema, particularly those who resist traditional roles and face societal shaming. The discussion extends to the portrayal of female figures with cropped hair, notably Jeanne d'Arc, as symbols of bravery and non-conformity. The film's portrayal of hair as a marker of femininity and vulnerability is analyzed in connection with historical and cinematic representations of women who defy gender norms.

Butterfly Vision is presented not only as a narrative about individual trauma and resilience but also as a commentary on national identity, gendered shaming, and the intersection of personal and political spheres. The article concludes by reflecting on the film's contribution to the discourse on wartime sexual violence and women's agency, positioning it as a significant work that challenges conventional narratives and promotes a deeper understanding of the complexities of women's resistance in times of conflict.          




How to Cite

Drubek, N. (2023). The Ukrainian Film Butterfly Vision (2022) And Women’s Resistance To Wartime Trauma. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, 15(1), 79–114.