Moncho and Don Gregorio on the cover of the American DVD release
|Directed by||José Luis Cuerda|
|Produced by||Executive Producer:
José Luis Cuerda
Jose Maria Iresteiro
|Written by||Rafael Azcona
José Luis Cuerda
|Starring||Fernando Fernán Gómez
Alexis de los Santos
|Music by||Alejandro Amenábar|
|Edited by||Ignacio Cayetano Rodriguez
Nacho Ruiz Capillas
|Distributed by||Warner Sogefilms S.A.|
|24 September 1999|
Butterfly's Tongue or Butterfly (Spanish: La lengua de las mariposas, literally "The Tongue of the Butterflies"), is a 1999 Spanish film directed by José Luis Cuerda. The film centres on Moncho (Manuel Lozano) and his coming-of-age experience in Galicia in 1936. Moncho develops a close relationship with his teacher Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernán Gómez), who introduces the boy to different things in the world. While the story centres on Moncho's ordinary coming-of-age experiences, tensions related to the looming Spanish Civil War periodically interrupt Moncho's personal growth and daily life.
The film is adapted from three short stories from the book Que me queres, amor? by Galician author Manuel Rivas. The short stories are "A lingua das bolboretas", "Un saxo na néboa", and "Carmiña".
The film received some critical acclaim. It was nominated for the 2000 Goya Award for Best Picture, and it won the Goya Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Butterfly's Tongue also has a 96% rating on RottenTomatoes.com.
- Fernando Fernán Gómez as Don Gregorio
- Manuel Lozano as Moncho
- Elena Fernandez as Carmiña
- Uxia Blanco as Rosa
- Gonzalo Martín Uriarte as Ramón
- Alexis de los Santos as Andrés
In a Galician town, a young boy, Moncho, goes to school for the first time and is taught by Don Gregorio about life and literature. At first, Moncho is very scared that the teachers will hit him since that was the standard procedure back then, but he is relieved to discover that Don Gregorio doesn't hit his pupils. Don Gregorio is unlike any other teacher; he builds a special relationship with Moncho, teaching him to love learning. Don Gregorio also builds a special relationship with Moncho's father, who is a Republican like him. Moncho's mother is luke-warm towards the Republic, her main concern being belief in God, and at the end of the film she sides with the Nationalist rebels.
When fascists take control of the town, they round up known Republicans, including Don Gregorio. Because of the fact that Moncho's father is a Republican, his family fears that he too will be taken away in the purge if the fascists discover his political leanings. In order to protect themselves, the family goes to the town square to jeer the captured Republicans as they are paraded out of the court house and boarded onto a truck. The film ends with Moncho, despite his continued great affection for his friend and teacher, yelling hateful things and throwing rocks at Don Gregorio and the other Republicans, as instructed by his mother, as the truck carries them away, although the last thing Moncho yells are the words for the tongue of a butterfly, espiritrompa ("proboscis" in Galician), a favorite word taught to him by Don Gregorio in an attempt to let his dear friend know that he does not truly mean the words he is yelling.