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LOUIS XIII: The Broken Butterfly

September 2019

How a forgotten silent film from 1919 has been painstakingly restored by LOUIS XIII and The Film Foundation to be shared with a new audience, a century later

To celebrate our unique relationship with time and our commitment to artistic heritage, LOUIS XIII, in partnership with The Film Foundation, has funded the resurrection of The Broken Butterfly. The silent film, directed by Maurice Tourneur, was released in 1919 but hasn’t been seen since. LOUIS XIII and the Film Foundation are breathing new life into this forgotten film, allowing a modern audience to travel back in time to the era of silent film, but to view it in a new light, a century later.


‘Restoring this piece of memory is, for LOUIS XIII, a real pleasure and honour. Time is at the heart of everything we do,’ says LOUIS XIII’s Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis. At LOUIS XIII we always think a century ahead. Since 1842, our Cellar Masters have been laying down the finest eaux-de-vie, to age in our cellars, leaving a legacy for future Cellar Masters. In cyclical fashion, our current Cellar Master is today drawing on the proficiencies of the past while simultaneously planning for the future.


The Film Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese in 1990, is dedicated to restoring forgotten films from the past. ‘LOUIS XIII is passionate about its own legacy, and it’s gratifying to know they are equally committed to protecting the world’s cinematic heritage and sharing these great works of art with audiences for centuries to come,’ says Scorsese.

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There is great synergy between film and LOUIS XIII cognac: just as the art of blending requires great technical skill, intuition and attention to detail, so too does the art of filmmaking, and this project encapsulates these attributes.

Directed by Maurice Tourneur, The Broken Butterfly is a beautiful black-and-white film based on the novel Marcene by Penelope Knapp, a heartbreaking tale of love and loss. Tourneur directed more than 50 silent films in a career that spanned France and Hollywood. He became known for the distinctive lighting and stylised atmosphere in his films, which often depicted women in love and the lengths they would go to in order to find happiness – a theme that has stood the test of time.

We have a history of working with talented artists on creative projects that think a century ahead, such as our creative project entitled “100 Years” and composed of 2 opus “The movie you will never see” #NotComingSoon and “The song you will hear only #IfWeCare”. Only one copy of each exists, and they won’t be released until 100 years has passed since they were recorded – in 2117 and 2115, respectively – mirroring to our singular relationship we have with time.

Restoring The Broken Butterfly was a long and intricate process that called upon the skills of a team of highly experienced technicians. Slowly they breathed new life into the film, frame by frame, while ensuring none of its original magic was lost. The result is a beautiful piece of cinematography that honours the extraordinary talents of today as well as the past, and can be shared with audiences now and for centuries to come.