In Madrid, the orphan sisters Irene, Ana and Maite are raised by their austere aunt Paulina together with their mute and crippled grandmother after the death of their mother and their ... See full summary »
The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life, he has worked on the same theme many times, almost as if it were a ... See full summary »
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
"The Silence" is about the emotional distance between two sisters. The younger one is still attractive enough to pick up a lover in a strange city. The older one -- even though she is very ... See full summary »
The movie tells a melancholic story of a little girl who is living in a city in the north. She is fascinated by the secrets of the south which seem to be hidden in the personality of her ... See full summary »
In Castile c.1940, a travelling movie theatre brings James Whale's b/w film classic "Frankenstein" (1931) to a village. (Admission 1 peseta for adults, 2 reales for children.) Two young girls, Isabel and Ana, determine to find the Monster. Written by
Michael Crew <email@example.com>
The deserted building next to the well was actually an abandoned sheep-shed. See more »
When the fugitive jumps from the train and rolls down the hill, he's wearing boots, but in the next shot he's wearing low-cut shoes. See more »
Papa, have you ever picked a bad mushroom?
No. You know why?
Because I always do like my grandfather told me.
[he gets up and starts to walk; the girls follow]
If you're not sure a mushroom's good, don't pick it. Because if it's bad, and you eat it, it's your last mushroom and your last everything too.
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The Magic of the Movies Through the Eyes of a Wide-Eyed Child
"Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la colmena)" is a lovely insight into the mind of a child, where fantasy mixes with reality and stories with dreams. This is a beautiful metaphor for the magic of the movies and co-writer/director Víctor Erice illustrates the connection further by having the impact of the film "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff on a young girl as the pivotal plot point.
Ana Torrent is a wide-eyed innocent who carries the film, as we completely enter into how she integrates her daily life, both the quotidian happenings and the unusual, with scary stories her older sister teases her with and with the film. Her beautiful eyes are expressive and haunting. As someone who had an older sister with all kinds of outlandish tales that were gullibly believed, the sibling teasing is the most natural I've seen on film.
Erice has a completely original take on the Frankenstein story, no matter how many times it has been referenced in other movies. "Ana" powerfully relates to the little girl in the film, even though she does not understand any of the darker emotions or outcomes. The film inspires her to seek out misfits and outcasts, with unintended consequences and impacts on the adult world.
The adult world is the weakest part of the film, or it's so heavy with symbolism about the 1940's period when the film takes place or of the end of Francoism in Spain when the film was made that it's lost for a viewer first seeing the film today. While sometimes the parents', teachers' and servants' behavior seems mysterious if we were just seeing it from her perspective, their obliviousness and self-involvement in their own intellectual and romantic pursuits aren't really explained, even as her father's pompous hobby somehow gives the film its title. It might be some sort of commentary on how adults have their own way of blending fantasy and reality or some other political commentary.
Seen in a new 35 MM print at NYC's Film Forum, the cinematography by Luis Cuadrado was stunning. The rural scenes of fields, forest and horizon --where dangers and threats always lurk beneath the pastoral--are beautiful, with simply gorgeous looking vignettes of childhood experiences.
I wonder if this insightful look inside a child's mind influenced such films as "I'm Not Scared (Io non ho paura)" and "Paperhouse." but the film seems so fresh and creative I was surprised that it was made in 1973.
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