"Butterfly" ("Mariposa" in Spanish) is a Spanish film set in 1936, in the pre-stages of the Spanish Civil War.
Filmed in the standard European method (i.e., very well!), this film brings together Moncho (a young boy), his family, his village and its politics, and an aging school teacher, who only wants to teach that everyone should live free (or "at least one generation of Spaniards should live free!"). It is a heartwarming and heartbreaking film about the struggles, internally and outwardly: of trying to grow up and understand an adult world that seems bizarre at best, of wrestling with a myriad of political "solutions" facing the country at the time (which pitted Church against king against the fascists against the communists, thus leaving innocent Moncho completely confused.
The film quite adequately carries these themes and, alas, with no happy conclusion (it's not Hollywood, after all!). Moncho sees this adult world come crashing down upon his own sensibilities, and being six years old, find himself unable not only to cope with it but not to be able to understand it at all, try as hard as he may. Politics wins out, at least at this time and civil liberties (certainly a stranger to Spain at that time in history) once more fall by the camino real.
"Butterfly" makes a striking statement about the Human Condition, and how some cope, some reject, some distort, and some accept it. Seen from the perspective of Americans who seem to take civil liberties for granted, freedom on every corner, and rights in abundance, we can only feel saddened that these citizens know not freedom's ring. We do know, however, even though perhaps in another venue, the heartbreak of deception, of lost love, of being manipulated by false forces.
This is a powerful film that, subtitles aside (American audiences don't always "accept" them!), is worth the effort.