Butterfly

Butterfly

4.6 3
Director: José Luis Cuerda, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Manuel Lozano, Uxia Blanco

Cast: José Luis Cuerda, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Manuel Lozano, Uxia Blanco

     
 

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Veteran director Jose Luis Cuerda delivered this sensitive portrait of a child coming of age during a tense political situation just before the Spanish Civil War. On his first day of school, frail eight-year-old Moncho (Manuel Lozano) is so terrified by the imposing figure of his teacher Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernan Gomez) that he flees into the nearby woods. In

Overview

Veteran director Jose Luis Cuerda delivered this sensitive portrait of a child coming of age during a tense political situation just before the Spanish Civil War. On his first day of school, frail eight-year-old Moncho (Manuel Lozano) is so terrified by the imposing figure of his teacher Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernan Gomez) that he flees into the nearby woods. In spite of his authoritarian appearance, the schoolmaster proves to be a kind, free-thinking Republican who teaches Moncho the virtues of being good. The boy is soon spending much of his time with the elderly Gregorio in the Galician countryside, admiring such wonders of nature as the tongue of a butterfly. Other people in young Moncho's world include his down-to-earth mother (Uxia Blanco), his Republican father, and his older brother, who plays the saxophone with a group of local musicians. However, when the Fascists roll into town, the boy's life changes forever. La Lengua de las Mariposas was screened at the 1999 San Sebastian Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
This film offers an ample supply of the types of charming scenes commonly found in coming-of-age movies, such as curious kids spying on adults and learning about courtship. The cast is first-rate, particularly Fernando Fernan Gomez (Belle Epoque, The Spirit of the Beehive), and the individual vignettes that comprise the film are handled skillfully. Most of the scenes are entertaining and the pacing is generally effective, although too much time is spent on Mancho's tenure as the mascot for a traveling group of musicians. Furthermore, the movie provides an interesting perspective on the days leading to the Spanish Civil War, as the political situation changes from a conversation topic to something that permeates everyone's lives. The filmmakers wisely chose to get the audience emotionally involved in the lives of the characters and then show how the historical context impacts their lives. This sets up the audience for an interesting twist in the latter part of the film, which may force viewers to reevaluate everything that preceded it. At the very least, it ensures that the movie is more than just a cute but predictable coming-of-age story.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2011
UPC:
0031398138396
Original Release:
1999
Source:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:37:00
Sales rank:
4,917

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. Opening/School Jitters [4:24]
2. "Make An Effort With The Boy" [4:24]
3. "God Doesn't Kill" [6:59]
4. Special Brew [4:09]
5. Barking Dog [2:19]
6. Hold It Like a Girl [4:46]
7. Butting Rams [5:06]
8. Little Customers [4:24]
9. Little Customers [5:44]
10. Holy River [4:11]
11. Daddy's Secret [4:44]
12. Hell Does Not Exist [4:09]
13. Going Abroad [2:36]
14. The Wolf And The Wife [2:46]
15. Silent Song [5:58]
16. Journey Of Don Gregorio [2:45]
17. "Be Like A Tilonorrinco" [4:44]
18. Spanish Democracy Dead [3:27]
19. "Long Live The Republic" [2:58]
20. Reds! [3:52]
21. End Credits [4:27]

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'La Lengua de las mariposas' (BUTTERFLY) is a small miracle of a film, one of those magical experiences that reminds us about the beauty of life but also about the realities of living in a world ruled by politics and adversity and how all of that affects the vulnerable child. The Spanish title refers to the tongue of the butterfly that must trust the throat of a flower to deliver its nectar and at the same time the flower must trust the deliverer of its procreation. And there is much to be found in that brief title. The time is 1936 in the region of Galicia in Spain when the country is on the verge of a civil war. We meet Moncho (Manuel Lozano, an amazing child actor) who is also known as Sparrow, who lives with his tailor father and housewife mother and older brother Andrés (Alexis de los Santos) who plays the saxophone. Moncho is to begin school and is terrified of being ridiculed because of the breathing apparatus he must carry to treat his asthma. But to school he goes and there he is taken under the wing of the kind old teacher Don Gregorio (the brilliant Fernando Fernán Gómez) who gently introduces Moncho to the finer things in education - the observation of nature and the miracles of life. Moncho makes friends with Roque (Tamar Novas) and together the lads discover some of the realities of life: they observe a bizarre sexual encounter which later will reveal much about Moncho's family, and they begin to learn about the political adversity that colors the lives of the conservative Catholic little community. Andrés falls in love with a Chinese girl and therein lies another complex lesson in life. Eventually the political life comes to a head and the entry of Franco's regime divides the people between republicanism and communism, and Moncho must face the cruelties that befall his mentor as he must side with his family. And the effect of the loving, meaningful relationship between teacher and pupil is left for the viewer to decide. As directed by José Luis Cuerda and written by Cuerda and Rafael Azcona based on stories by Galician writer and journalist Manuel Rivas, the film, while always a work of great beauty and tenderness, feels a bit fragmented at times, probably due to the fact that separate stories were combined in one film, leaving portions of some sidebars with an incomplete resolution. But the wonder of the film lies in the acting by both Fernando Fernán Gómez and Manuel Lozano who together create a memorable bond that already has become a cinematic gold standard. The cinematography by Javier G. Salmones and the simple but note perfect musical score by Alejandro Amenábar set standards for Spanish filmmaking. This is a story to inform and to remind us how we as human beings are prone to follow external influences more than obeying our hearts and caring for our souls. BUTTERFLY paints a vivid portrait of Spain on the knife of revolution and the effects such changes can make in the eyes of a child. It is a brilliant little movie. In Spanish and Latin with English subtitles. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
A series of vignettes about the coming-of-age of a young boy in the months preceeding the Spanish Civil War, Lengua De Las Mariposas walks a thin line between both sentimental and hopeless. The film is Spanish with English subtitles. While English viewers may not understand some of the historical references, a basic knowledge of the Civil War is all that is required to grasp the film. The cinematography is artful and the soundtrack superb. The message, however, is open to interpretation. The film explores the corruption of innocence and the abrupt ending will leave the viewer with a darker image of human nature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful piece of film, cleverly crafted as it combines the literature with film. A heartwarming story that is guarenteed to excite you from start to finish. The film is in Spanish to further emphasise and issue the Spanish feeling but English subtext is present at the bottom.