The Spirit of the Beehive
Director: Víctor Erice Run Time: 97 min. Format: 35mm Film Release Year: 1973 Language: Spanish
Starring: Ana Torrent, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Isabel Tellería, Laly Soldevila, Teresa Gimpera
In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Ana, a sensitive seven-year-old girl in a rural Spanish hamlet, is traumatized after a traveling projectionist screens a print of James Whale’s 1931 “Frankenstein” for the village. The youngster is profoundly disturbed by the scenes in which the monster murders the little girl and is later killed by the villagers. She questions her sister about the profundities of life and death and believes her older sibling when she tells her that the monster is not dead, but exists as a spirit inhabiting a nearby barn. When a Loyalist soldier, a fugitive from Franco’s victorious army, hides out in the barn, Ana crosses from reality into a fantasy world of her own.
“[Ana] Torrent guilelessly captures the terror and wonder of imagination’s possibility that so informs childhood experience.” – Alyx Vesey, Bitch Media
“A modest marvel of grace and framing that unfolds with the patience of a cloud and is driven more by wonder than pure emotion.” – Wesley Morris, Boston Globe