Butterfly Jam Moves Forward at Ari Aster’s Square Peg; to be Filmed in New Jersey

Image Credit: Sarajevo Film Festival/YouTube

Square Peg’s ‘Butterfly Jam’ will materialize despite Kantemir Balagov announcing his retirement from filmmaking. The shooting of the project will start in New Jersey on an undisclosed date. Whether Balagov is helming the movie or a new director has come on board is yet to be known. Alexander Rodnyansky’s AR Content is producing the film with Ari Aster’s banner.

Image Credit: Film at Lincoln Center/YouTube

The plot revolves around Monica, a woman in her 40s who, for reasons undisclosed, is either unwilling or unable to form genuine attachments. With a sense of loss from her past and an uncertain future, she decides to embark on a journey to locate her mother. This quest is driven by a deep-seated desire to unravel the truth surrounding her abandonment and, concurrently, to unveil the identity of her unknown father.

Balagov penned the movie with Marina Stepnova, a renowned Russian author. The filmmaker announced his supposed retirement in April 2023 through Instagram, right before deleting his account. “I tried, but I’m done, I’m sorry. Two movies are more than enough,” he shared at the time. The movie was supposed to be his English-language feature debut as a director.

Balagov gained prominence with his earlier features, ‘Closeness’ and ‘Beanpole,’ both premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. His most recent directorial work is ‘Beanpole,’ a war drama set in 1945 Leningrad. The plot revolves around World War II’s devastating impact on the city, demolishing buildings and leaving citizens physically and mentally shattered. In the struggle to rebuild their lives among the ruins, two young women search for meaning and hope. ‘Closeness’ is set in the squalid town of Nalchik in the late-1990s. The film explores the kidnapping of a poor young Jewish couple, unveiling bitter resentments and cruel dilemmas that magnify the community’s grave predicament.

“Kantemir’s two features are among the most singular and gorgeous and haunting that I’ve seen, and it’s a thrill to be working with him,” Aster shared in a statement back in 2022. “I worked with Alexander on Beanpole, and it’s incredible how respectful he is towards directors. He knows that artistic freedom is essential for auteurs. AR Content and Square Peg are a dream team. I feel happy and blessed and cannot wait to share this story with the audience,” Balagov added at the time.

New Jersey, the principal location of the movie, previously hosted the shooting of AMC’s post-apocalyptic drama ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live‘ and Lionsgate’s action film ‘John Wick: Chapter 4.’

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