For Moncho, it's an idyllic year: he starts school, he has a wonderful teacher, he makes a friend in Roque, he begins to figure out some of the mysteries of Eros, and, with his older ... See full summary »
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For Moncho, it's an idyllic year: he starts school, he has a wonderful teacher, he makes a friend in Roque, he begins to figure out some of the mysteries of Eros, and, with his older brother, a budding saxophone player, he makes a trip with the band from their town in Galicia. But it's also the year that the Spanish Republic comes under fire from Fascist rebels. Moncho's father is a Republican as is the aging teacher, Don Gregorio. As sides are drawn and power falls clearly to one side, the forces of fear, violence, and betrayal alter profoundly what should be the pleasure of coming of age. Written by
It's a beautiful (and too rare) thing to witness a child actor who can avoid the saccharine cutesiness so common to mainstream American child actors. In this film full of children there are, happily, no cloying, exaggerated "cute kid" moments.
The real beauty of La lengua de las mariposas is what's unspoken -- the truths that remain between the lines. The film's political theme is never heavy-handed, and its vivid and fascinating depiction of a turbulent moment in Spanish history has inspired in me a desire to learn more. Without spoiling the ending (which I read as fairly subversive, at least to an American audience), I must say I wasn't entirely surprised at what happened. It brought a tear to my eye and it's still making me think, three days later.
Those who liked this film should also see La Vita e Bella (Life Is Beautiful) and La notte di San Lorenzo (Night Of Shooting Stars), which are similar and may appeal equally, if not more.
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