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The Spirit Of The Beehive
aka - Espiritu de la Colmena, El
Spain 1973
Directed by Victor Erice
Running time 98 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
5 stars


For anyone who appreciates the poetics of film this will rate highly. Two young girls in an isolated Spanish village in the 1940s attend a travelling screening of James Whale's Frankenstein. Under the influence of her somewhat cruel and slightly older sister, Ana (Ana Torrent) becomes fixated with the idea of befriending the monster who she confuses with a wounded anti-Franco soldier, whom she encounters in a barn

Erice's simple, largely dialogueless story with its imagery that is both painterly and symbolic, beautifully realized by cinematographer, Luis Cuadrado, is an extraordinary study of childhood imagination set in the context of physical and psychological isolation.

FYI: The film is one of only three features and a short subject directed by Erice. For a related story, but this time based on children's misunderstanding of religious language, see Whistle Down The Wind, 1961.

 

 

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