La lengua de las mariposas

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Original title La lengua de las mariposas
Country of production Spain
original language Spanish
Publishing year 1999
length 97 minutes
Director José Luis Cuerda
script Rafael Azcona
José Luis Cuerda
Manuel Rivas
production Fernando Bovaira
José Luis Cuerda
music Alejandro Amenábar
camera Javier Salmones
cut Ignacio Cayetano Rodriguez
Nacho Ruiz Capillas

La lengua de las mariposas (German "The tongue of the butterflies") is a Spanish fiction film by the director José Luis Cuerda from 1999. It is based on the short story of the same name by Manuel Rivas .

Content and comments

The action takes place in the months before the Spanish Civil War , beginning with the election victory of the left-wing Frente Popular on February 16, 1936 and is about the relationship of a six-year-old boy named Moncho to his old teacher Gregorio. Other short stories by Manuel Rivas have also been woven into the film.

Moncho grew up in a Galician city . Due to an illness, he does not start school until the middle of the school year. Unlike the bogeyman of a teacher drawn by his older brother, Don Gregorio turns out to be a loving and respectful teacher who succeeds in directing the alert Moncho's curiosity to the things that surround her. Even on small details like the tongue of butterflies. Like Moncho's father, Don Gregorio is a republican and supports the democratically elected government of Spain.

The civil war, which will soon break out, is announced again and again in the course of the film through gestures, facial expressions and also sentences, especially by representatives of the anti-republican side. For example in the behavior of the village priest, who fights with Don Gregorio for the soul of the little Moncho in one scene, and ascribes Don Gregorio's influence that the boy does not know how to recite his Latin altar server, but also in the words and gestures of the landowner of the Village or in reactions of the Guardia Civil .

When the war breaks out in 1936 and the fascists conquer the village, all Republicans are initially locked in the school building. Moncho's father, broken and incapacitated, submits to his more pragmatic mother, who, in the face of the outbreak of civil war, destroys everything that reveals the father's republican sentiments in order to save the family, and also teaches her sons that they will never have anything republican in theirs Would have heard at home.

When the Republicans are transported away (for their execution ?) In front of the assembled village public by a unit of Falanguists , the family tearfully wrestles the abuse of their Republican friends. Then the children of the village run after the truck and throw stones at the humiliated Republicans and give them swear words. Moncho also joins this and throws an "Espiritrompa" ( butterfly trunk ) after his old teacher in addition to stones .


The RottenTomatoes website , which evaluates film reviews, gave the film a positive rating of 96%.


Goya 2000

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. film reviews