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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)

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7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 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 »
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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: [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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sus años dorados (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Mi caravana
Written by Roberto Berki Jr. (as Roberto Berki) y Fernando Sedano (as F. Serrano)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Magic of the Movies Through the Eyes of a Wide-Eyed Child
16 February 2006 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"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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