Wednesday, December 8, 2010


aka La Lengua de las Mariposas (Butterfly's Tongue)
Jose Luis Cuerda, 1999, Spain (8.5*)
A very warm coming-of-age film, in which a young Spanish boy, naturally played by Manuel Lozano, in a small rural village in Northern Spain is tutored in more than school by his teacher, veteran actor Fernando Fernán Gómez. A naturalist, and a leftist, he teaches the boy about the beauty of nature (and freedom), and together they spend spare time in the wild, looking at plants and catching butterflies.

Meanwhile, the Spanish society is being torn apart by politicians (so remote that only the radio brings the trouble home), as fascists are determined to make the new republic fail. This film deftly shows how the innocence of childhood, the beginning of romance, and the wonder and awe about life can be twisted by the times one lives in and the bigotry of adults, even before the advent of the next world war.

The acting is so natural that you soon forget that you are watching a movie; it seems as if the director used all local amateurs and simply put their lives on film. Gómez will win your respect and admiration, and young Lozano your heart. One of the best Spanish films I've seen, and one of the best about the positive influence of education.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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