Spiros retires as a schoolteacher, his daughter is married, and he starts his annual journey with his bees to get honey from different areas. In his truck he finds a young girl who has just been abandoned and has no roots. Spiros lets her follow for a day. Seeing her difficulty in getting further hitch-hiking, he takes her back. They will meet and part several times. Later she will say that Spiros is the only one who has ever been kind to her. But his emotions are so restrained that he cannot show anything until a volcanic eruption breaks through. He does not seek serious contact until the eruption makes him drive the car right through the glass wall of the café in which the girl is sitting. She immediately follows him. But after this criminal event they can no longer live at hotels. From the beginning she was willing to sleep with him. But when he finally kisses her, her justified reaction is to repeat "Not in this way!" A friend had a shut down cinema where they could sleep. ... Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
I came via this film by way of leading man Marcello Mastroianni, in many of Fellini's greats, though I actually preferred his performance alongside Guilietta Masina in Ginger and Fred, actually made/released the same year as this, 1986 than in my comparative example, 8.5
I bought the DVD of The Beekeeper cold, not knowing of, or having seen this Greek director's work before. I don't think I was under the illusion that it was going to be all holiday sun and gaiety - indeed, it is not. We, in the U.K are not used to seeing Greece in the winter, with remnants of snow and greying landscapes that hint at times passing, of buildings in slight dilapidation and overtones of regret and slight bitterness. One scene in spring IS in full colourful sunshine, the remainder at night or on grey, rather oppressive days.
Spyro (Mastroianni) leaves work for the last time and disillusioned, wants to finally devote all his time, love and energies to his faithful friends, his bees. With them in their hides, on the back of his truck, he drives off, in search of pollen for them and a new meaning for himself. After a chance pickup of the beautiful hitch-hiker (referred to in the IMDb credits simply as 'The Girl'), left behind after her previous lift (or boyfriend?) holds up a shop and drives off sharpish, without her, Spyro seems to be too polite/worn down/shy, or whatever, to pick up on her lead.
In fact, it is not for an hour and half until he finally - and abruptly, succumbs, clumsily and badly. She had already picked up a young soldier, just discharged. Spyro has rescued her from him. Now, will she revive his spirit, his bittersweet, nonchalant view on the human world, or will she wither with him? The last scene but one, outside the old run-down movie theatre where they have been sleeping, a speeding trains hurtles, as if like moving film itself, very fast, transient, timeless, golden, against a Hollywood backdrop of romance, from the '30s or 40's.
I found this a sober, absorbing and never boring film that gave space and time to allow one to think outside of what was happening. The life-cycle, struck me as being (maybe) that of that of the queen bee and her workers. The beautiful, unnamed stranger who mates with the worker (Spyro) and then moves on, ready for the next one. The final scene, spine-tingling in its portrayal (I'm NOT going to spoil it!) re- emphasises that, for me.
There is a little humour and gentle light relief in amongst all this, as Spyro meets up with old friends and his daughter along the way. If you want a frilly popcorn film, forget this one, but for adult, thought- provoking and unpretentious - and mostly, a different, experience, as well as for Marciello's masterful and understated performance, this is most satisfying world cinema.
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