7.9/10
15,205
95 user 82 critic

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

El espíritu de la colmena (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 14 March 1975 (Sweden)
In 1940, after watching and being traumatized by the movie Frankenstein (1931), a sensitive seven year-old girl living in a small Spanish village drifts into her own fantasy world.

Director:

Víctor Erice

Writers:

Ángel Fernández Santos (original screenplay), Víctor Erice (original screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

El Sur (1983)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A woman reflects on her childhood relationship with her father, attempting to understand the depths of his despair and the truth of his myths.

Director: Víctor Erice
Stars: Omero Antonutti, Sonsoles Aranguren, Icíar Bollaín
Cría Cuervos (1976)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the twilight of Francisco Franco's dictatorship, an eight-year-old orphan and her two sisters find shelter in the house of their stern aunt, trying their best to acclimatise to a new reality. Will they summon up the courage to grow up?

Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Ana Torrent, Conchita Pérez, Mayte Sanchez
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The artist Antonio López tries to capture the sunlight hitting his quince tree all autumn, but the struggle seems futile.

Director: Víctor Erice
Stars: Antonio López, María Moreno, Enrique Gran
Ordet (1955)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Preben Lerdorff Rye
Viridiana (1961)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey
Balthazar (1966)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Three different episodes with the common nexus of expressing how a situation that seems normal ends up in an outbreak of violence: a father, actor of renown and owner of a luxurious mansion... See full summary »

Directors: José Luis Egea, Víctor Erice, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Dean Selmier, Francisco Rabal, Asunción Balaguer
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.

Director: Chantal Akerman
Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck
L'Avventura (1960)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Cleo, a singer and hypochondriac, becomes increasingly worried that she might have cancer while awaiting test results from her doctor.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fernando Fernán Gómez ... Fernando
Teresa Gimpera ... Teresa
Ana Torrent ... Ana
Isabel Tellería Isabel Tellería ... Isabel
Ketty de la Cámara Ketty de la Cámara ... Milagros, la criada
Estanis González Estanis González ... Guardia civil
José Villasante José Villasante ... Frankenstein
Juan Margallo ... Fugitivo
Laly Soldevila Laly Soldevila ... Doña Lucía
Miguel Picazo Miguel Picazo ... Doctor
Edit

Storyline

In Castilla around 1940, a traveling movie theatre brings James Whale's black and white film classic "Frankenstein" (1931) to a small village. Two young girls, Isabel and Ana, are subsequently determined to find the monster themselves. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Entering a child's world of fascination and horror.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

14 March 1975 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Spirit of the Beehive See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Ana & Isabel first go to the well there are stones around the base. Ana steps on one to look down in to the well. When she returns later there are no longer any stones so when she looks in to the well she is much too short to see down in it. See more »

Quotes

Ana: [about a mountain where a lot of mushrooms grow] Why don't we go there?
Fernando: It's too far, we would never make it with you weaklings. We will go sometime.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sassi nello stagno (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

La Lirio
Written by José Antonio Ochaíta (as Ochaíta), Rafael de León (as León) y Manuel L. Quiroga (as Quiroga)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

creatively captivates the viewer through images rather than words and leaves you wondering after the last scene has ended.
28 October 2000 | by dlkohrsSee all my reviews

This is an enchanting movie about two young sisters caught in the silence of post-war Spain. While representing the isolation of Spain in that era and the lack of communication that persisted throughout the country, "El espíritu de la colmena," by Victor Erice in 1973, fascinated me with its use of dramatic chiaroscuro lightening, large panoramic shots and the use of fades to connect scenes while commenting on the time warp that Spain endured after the war.

Without using much dialogue in the movie, Erice artistically comments on the political tension in Spain through potent images and scenes. He uses symbols such as the two young sisters to represent the division between the Republican and Nationalist parties, and the leitmotif of the beehive to represent the "trapped" workers in Spain under Franco. The most amazing aspect is that all of the post-war commentary is said without any words and without mentioning the actual event! It is a "cine de espectáculo," or spectacle cinema, that symbolizes the connection between fantasy in the movies and fantasy in reality. Without knowing the history of Spain, a spectator could misinterpret the movie as a commentary about the imagination of a little girl after viewing the movie "Frankenstein." The character of Frankenstein is a main component contributing to Ana's, the younger sister, interpretation of reality in Spain, and it gains meaning as Frankenstein evolves from a character in the movie to an object of fantasy. It continues to evolve into a man of flesh and bones and finally represents the hope of Ana when all other sources of information in her life turn out to be faulty.

"El espíritu de la colmena" is a powerful movie that uses many metaphors (such as Ana for the young, innocent generation of Spain) to question the interpretation of reality. It is a powerful, artistically made movie that captivates the viewer through images rather than words. It should be seen more than once in order to understand all it's hidden messages.


43 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 95 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed