Dictatorships are central to Voces inocentes/Innocent Voices (Luis Mandoki, 2004) and La lengua de las mariposas/Butterfly Tongues (José Luis Cuerda, 1999). Not because dictators explicitly appear in either, or are even named as such, but because they cast a long shadow over the lives of the children who grow up often ignorant of their existence, but are victims of their policies and actions. Set respectively in El Salvador and Spain, the coming of age narratives have similar episodes, the young boys go to school, play with their friends, fall in love, and the overarching narrative is that of a key dramatic period, both of the nation’s and the children’s lives. There are particular events relevant to the context in which they are set that result in different outcomes. Children’s innocence is compromised in very different ways in each film when they are forced to engage with their country’s political turmoil. At the same time it is this very innocence, which is the strength of having a young child protagonist, that must be both underscored and eroded, in ways that is intended to both draw the audience in and cause heartbreak at its loss in order to reach an understanding of the complex political circumstances. This chapter concerns itself with the meaning of childhood as represented in these films under the shadow of dictatorship in El Salvador and Spain.
|Title of host publication||Dictatorships in the Hispanic World:Transatlantic and Transnational Perspectives|
|Place of Publication||Lanham, Maryland|
|Publisher||Rowman & Littlefield|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
Thornton, N. (2012). “Wide-eyed Boys and Star Kids: Children and Violence in Voces inocentes (2004) and La lengua de las mariposas (1999)”. In Dictatorships in the Hispanic World:Transatlantic and Transnational Perspectives (pp. 65-80). Rowman & Littlefield.