Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Spirit of the Beehive

The Spirit of the Beehive
(El Espiritu de la Colmena)
Release Date: October 1973
Directed by Victor Erice
Starring Ana Torrent
Music by Luis de Pablo

Victor Erice
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful -- an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale's Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can't see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. The film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent. ~ Yuri German, Rovi (Rotten Tomatoes)

Memorable lines:
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
El espíritu de la colmena (original title)

Ana: [unable to sleep] Isabel?
Isabel: [opening her eyes] What?
Ana: [whispering] Tell me what you were going to tell me.
Isabel: [whispering] About what?
Ana: The movie.
Isabel: Not now... Tomorrow.
Ana: Now... You promised. Why did he kill the girl, and why did they kill him after that?... You don't know - you're a liar.
Isabel: They didn't kill him, and he didn't kill the girl.
Ana: How do you know? How do you know they didn't die?
Isabel: Everything in the movies is fake. It's all a trick. Besides, I've seen him alive.
Ana: Where?
Isabel: In a place I know near the village. People can't see him. He only comes out at night.
Ana: Is he a ghost?
Isabel: No, he's a spirit.
Isabel: Like the spirit Dona Lucia talks about?
Isabel: Yes, but spirits have no bodies. That's why you can't kill thenm.
Ana: But he had one in the movie. He had arms and feet. He had everything.
Isabel: It's a disguise they put on when they go outside...
Ana: If he only comes out at night, how can you talk to him?
Isabel: I told you he was a spirit. If you're his friend, you can talk to him whenever you want. Just close your eyes and call him... It's me, Ana... It's me Ana...
[they hear what sounds like ominous footsteps and are silent]

Music and drawings from opening credits:


Interview with actor Fernando Fernan Gomeznnn:

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