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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars34
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2003
'Butterfly's Tongue' is a minor masterpiece of a movie that deserves to be seen. The relationship between young Moncho and his kindly old grandfatherly teacher is captured beautifully, despite the shadow of the Spanish civil war looming large on the horizon. The viewer is totally immerced in the lives of Moncho, his parents and brother, all observed with brilliance by the actors. The one thing this movie left with me is the knowledge that children are like sponges, soak them with hate early on and we'll all be reaping the 'rewards' later.
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on 8 October 2008
A beautiful, touching, moving documentation of a young boy's growing relationship both with his teacher and the world around him that knocks the wind out of your sails and leaves you wounded. I'll take the last look on his teacher's face with me to the grave. "Sshh.. it's a story about love and freedom," says the man on the bicycle, according to screen writer, Rafael Azcona. This is a beautiful, hurtful film that I just can't get out of my head.
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on 25 March 2007
Being the archetypal English monoglot (OK I know a few words of other languages but I'm not too hot) I almost dropped this from my rental list when I read the review that it had no subtitles (I can only assume that reviewer couldn't find them).

How wrong that would have been as this was a mesmerising film. The characters were played by an exceptional cast who brought together every nuance of that time in rural Spain. The relationships between the characters - especially that of Monch and his teacher Don Gregorio - felt as real as if one was watching real life instead of a movie. Dialogue was excellent and I wish I could understand Spanish and read the original stories that the movie is based on.

All in all a first rate film that one would hate to have missed.
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on 6 December 2010
A lovely little film of childhood innocence being overtaken by outside political intrigue. Beautiful portrayal of characters and 1930s Spain. The nature scenes are outstanding. You might find that a basic knowledge of the Spanish Civil War might help you understand better the train of events and ongoing political references during the film. Could not recommend it enough.
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on 28 May 2007
This movie is based on three short stories from the same book, which are all experienced from the view point of an 8 year old boy, Moncho, but which are otherwise scarcely related. The story of the school teacher is touchingly portrayed, and Moncho is central to this story, but the story of the dog and the story of the wolf woman contain events which Moncho watches rather than participates in, and could perhaps have been better told from a closer viewpoint.

The three stories themselves are simple but twisted, like the best of Don Camillo. The film seems understated, at least when observed through the English subtitles, and the adult characters seem deliberately underdeveloped.

The English subtitles are poor, at times dialog is missing, and at times the translation was literally correct but could have better reflected the empathy of the character.

Overall this is a rewarding and thought provoking movie. Although this lacks the beautiful score of Malena, Butterfly's Tongue should appeal to the same audience.
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on 4 July 2010
little asthmatic boy starts school in Spain very close to the start of the Spanish Civil War. After a scary start cos he believes the teacher thrashes his pupils, Moncho - the dimunitive of Ramon - finds that the teacher knows so many things about the world at large - in fact an inexaustable source of interesting knowledge. On the pathway to his knowledge Moncho also learns a few things about his neighbours in the village! An abrupt end - depicting the way that a declaration of war can affect innocent civilians and change their thoughts into opposing actions.
See it...
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on 30 May 2010
The scence is set as a young boy starts his first day at school but he is affraid after rumours amongst the children that the teacher is a tyrant. However, the teacher turns out to be the opposite as his approach is that of libertarian education towards his students. The boy later discovers his teacher is an anarchist. The film is set during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and as the small rural community believe in the ideal of 'land and freedom' things begin to take a turn when the community suffers the ordeal of a visit by the Franco's foot soldiers.
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on 13 February 2013
This film is a masterpiece of Spanish cinema - by turns, touching, funny, poignant and ultimately heart-breaking. The portrayal of the shy, sensitive, asthmatic little boy Moncho (by the young actor Manuel Lozano) who is the central character of the film is outstanding and deeply moving - you would have to be clinically dead not to be moved by his performance. The film charts his growing awareness of the world around him and his relationship with his kindly teacher Don Gregario (acted wtih great sensitivity and delicacy by Fernando Fernan-Gomez), both sharing an interest in natural history and insect life. The rest of the cast are equally excellent. The film is set just before the beginning of the Spanish Civil War and the shadow of that brutal and tragic conflict looms over the lives of all the film's principal characters. The cinematography is beautiful and both time and place are very well observed. In essesnce I think the film is a study in kindness and goodness and their polar opposites, cruelty and evil, especially as they manifest themselves in politics and political life. I don't wish to spoil anyone's viewing of the film by giving away the ending, suffice it to say that it reduced me to a sobbing wreck. An absolutely first-class Spanish film which has haunted me for days since viewing. It is a film that I think I will return to many times. Higly recommended.
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on 13 March 2003
Loss of innocence can be the greatest loss of all, it robs you of the most beautiful things in your life, and then all you have are the memories and a ghostly taste of that time that left you so long ago. If you like to recapture a taste this is the movie but remember innocence is impermanent, and this film is as beautiful as it is sad, because we see through the eyes of a boy the loss of innocence of a nation, with all its implications.
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on 7 October 2010
just got back from holiday to find this film in the post. what can i say? one of the most moving, well acted and well shot films i have ever seen. if you are not a fan of foriegn language films, don't let this put you off. it would be just as powerful with the subtitles turned off. recommended. X
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