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Butterfly's Tongue [DVD] [2000]

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Manuel Lozano, Fernando Fernán-Gómez, Uxía Blanco, Gonzalo Uriarte, Alexis de los Santos
  • Directors: José Luis Cuerda
  • Writers: José Luis Cuerda, Manuel Rivas, Rafael Azcona
  • Producers: Ana Míguez, Emiliano Otegui, Fernando Bovaira, Jose Maria Iresteiro
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Metrodome
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Nov. 2000
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004YN5L
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,366 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The year is 1935 in the Spanish village of Galicia, and eight-year-old Moncho (Manuel Lozano) is terrified that his new teacher, Don Gregario (Fernando Fernan-Gomez) will flog him. However, Don Gregario proves to be an enlightened man, who shares Moncho's interest in insects and takes him on several enjoyable field trips. Meanwhile, Moncho's teenage brother Andrés (Alexis de los Santos) discovers a talent for the saxophone when he falls in love with a mute Chinese girl from the next village. However, the community becomes split with the arrival of the Spanish Civil War, and Moncho's relationship with his kindly teacher is among the first to feel its effect.

From the Back Cover

In the summer of 1936, before the outbreak of the civil war that plunged Spain into three years of agony and terror, 8 year old Moncho is beginning his first day of school. At first affraid of his new teacher, Don Gregorio - who he has heard flogs pupils - teacher and pupil soon develop an inseperable bond, bron of their shared interest in insect life.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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'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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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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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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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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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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This excellent film is an amalgamation of three short stories by Manuel Rivas, a Galician author, which have been translated to the big screen by Jose Luis Cuerda and Rafael Azcona, director and screenwriter respectively. Although extras are scarce on this DVD, this does not neccessarily mean that the film loses anything by it. In fact, without the distractions of extras, one can focus on what is at hand - the downfall of a democracy to the iron grip of communism, the forty years of dictatorship that was to follow and how these events affect the life of a young boy.
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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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