Sun Dec 8
5753 Main St
Rock Hall, MD 21661
Community Curator: Marc Dykeman
The Spirit of the Beehive (Spanish: El espíritu de la colmena) is a 1973 Spanish drama directed by Victor Erice. The film was Erice’s debut and is considered a masterpiece of Spanish Cinema.
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 himself 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.
Film critic Dan Callahan praised the film’s cinematography, story, direction and acting. He wrote, “Every magic hour, light-drenched image in Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive is filled with mysterious dread….There’s something voluptuous about the cinematography, and this suits the sense of emerging sexuality in the girls, especially in the scene where Isabel speculatively paints her lips with blood from her own finger…[and] Torrent, with her severe, beautiful little face, provides an eerily unflappable presence to center the film. The one time she smiles, it’s like a small miracle, a glimpse of grace amid the uneasiness of black cats, hurtling black trains, devouring fire and poisonous mushrooms. These signs of dismay haunt the movie.”