I went to Thailand to have a complete break from film-making, but the experience was so overwhelming that an entire narrative unfolded before me. What was so compelling were the intricate codes and conventions of the tourist scene. The deeper I probed, the more fascinating the 'world' became.

The story of Butterfly Man is a mixture of anecdote, experience and imagination, inspired by my travels throughout Thailand. The film is concerned with a young man in tension. Adam is caught between love and lust, commitment and 'freedom', and reality and illusion. Modern Thailand and its way of life is an ideal setting for such dilemmas.

I have located the story mainly in the south of the country where tourism is eroding the natural charm and beauty of the islands. The core of this subculture is the Thai-Westerner relationship. Westerners tend to arrive with assumptions and attitudes which are insensitive to the Thai way of life. Thai people are kind and gentle, but not stupid. Visitors acting badly, rapidly become unstuck. So, what ultimately intrigues me is why so many Westerners create nightmares for themselves, even in paradise.

It was important to represent Adam not as some dumb, arrogant tourist, but a young mind with a sense of truth and purpose. The girl he falls for, Em, required equal care. She may do bad things - poison Adam - for bad people - Joey - but always for good reasons - to support her family.

Throughout the story we glimpse a second culture. But it is not until the final sequences when Adam's path leads him to Em's remote village in the Northeast that the true heart of Thailand is revealed. This second culture is traditional and rapidly disappearing, but provides a useful reminder to western audiences of how people can live in harmony. Here, Adam finds the antidote to his western lifestyle.

Kaprice Kea

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