Miss Butterfly

(Fräulein Schmetterling)

GDR, 1965/2005, 118 min, b&w
In German; German subtitles
Assistant Director
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Combining fantastic scenes with documentary elements, Miss Butterfly was the first official experimental feature film made at the East German DEFA Studio.


After their father dies, 17-year-old Helene Raupe ("Caterpillar") and her little sister are alone. Abandoned by their relatives, they must face daily problems in Berlin. Helene is only happy in her dreams, where she can fly and work as a model. In real life, she constantly fails to meet expectations. Only after she gives voice to her ideals is she able to break from the dictates of society to make her dreams come true.


The rights holder only approves screenings of this film that are accompanied by an introduction in an educational setting. Please contact us for more information.


Although Miss Butterfly was to be the first official experimental feature film in the GDR, it was banned after the presentation of the rough cut, in the aftermath of the 11th Plenum of the Central Committee of the GDR’s Socialist Unity Party (SED). As a reason, officials cited its negative portrayal of everyday reality and its clear reflection of bourgeois philosophies.


A poetic contemporary fairy tale, Miss Butterfly was screened for the first time in 2005. Working with preserved film and audio materials, film historians and archivists reconstructed this unique film collage on the basis of the original script.


Shibboleth login