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 »
Paulino and Carmela are husband and wife, troubadours touring the countryside during the Spanish Civil War. They are Republicans, and with their mute assistant, Gustavete, they journey into... See full summary »
A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.
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
Another --good- film about lost innocence in the --Spanish Civil-- war.
This is one of those occasional intimate eye-openers which peacefully stir our self consciousness and that you are not likely to find in your local blockbusters.
In my opinion, the greatest sin of commonplace movies -and any work of art for that matter- is pretentiousness. This movie quietly moves toward simplicity easily making its way to the contradictory twist in the final scene.
The title might be a kind of pun on the words 'language' and 'tongue' that in Spanish are homonyms. We should ask Jose Luis Cuerda (director) or Rafael Azcona (script), because the pun, if there's one, is not obvious.
On July 18th, 1936, General Franco's military forces rebelled against the elected Republican government. The film opens a year earlier, in a small town in the region of Galicia, where Moncho, the 7-year-old son of a republican tailor, doesn't want to go to the school where Don Gregorio teaches kids the wonders of nature, the funny spiral tongue of butterflies.
In his conversations with Moncho, Don Gregorio also teaches him the principles of liberty and the notions of existence: 'That hell beyond this world does not exist. Hhatred, cruelty, that's hell. Sometimes, hell is ourselves'.
I like the scene in which Andrés, Moncho teenage brother plays the saxo in the local fair while his love looks at him. The poignant 'pasodoble' 'En Er mundo' has been used to the same effect in other Spanish Civil War films, notably in Victor Erice's 'El Sur'
Loyalty, cowardice and the fight for moral versus physical survival come into play in the final scene when Moncho denies his teacher.
In the commentary on that scene, Cuerda remembers the tension that surrounded the place, rural Galicia being one of the most conservative regions in Spain. He mentions that he had learned later that the truck they used in the film had actually been used to 'pasear' (walk) republicans, one of many groups that were shot in the first days of the Civil War.
My numbers: 9 out of 10
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