Spirit of the Beehive
Marvel at this bona fide classic of European cinema, with a special introduction.
Director: Víctor Erice
Cast includes: Fernando Fernan Gomez
Introduced By Nicholas Johnson of Etruscan Books
98mins / 1973 / Spain, Subtitles
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Made under the Franco regime, Victor Erice’s astonishing feature debut is quite simply one of the most remarkable, influential and purely poignant films to emerge from the 1970s. A bona fide classic of European cinema, the film brought Erice instant and widespread acclaim. An audacious critique of the disastrous legacy of the Spanish Civil War, The Spirit of the Beehive is set in a rural 1940s Spanish village haunted by betrayal and regret. Following a travelling cinema’s screening of James Whale’s Frankenstein, seven year old Ana (a mesmerizing Ana Torrent, later to grow into an international star of some standing) becomes fascinated with Boris Karloff’s monster. Obsessed with meeting the initially gentle creation, she transfers her entrancement to a wounded army deserter.
Atmospherically rendered by legendary Director of Photography Luis Cuadrado, it is impeccably performed by both Torrent and veteran actor Fernando Fernan Gomez in the role of her emotionally scarred, bee-keeping father. Existing in a highly evocative dreamlike state, it is a powerfully symbolic, richly allegorical tale that is as unique as it is beautiful.