8.0/10
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The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

El espíritu de la colmena (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 5 January 1977 (France)
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:

5 January 1977 (France) 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

Cinematographer Luis Cuadrado was going blind at the time this film was made. An assistant would take Polaroids of the scenes and Cuadrado would direct the lighting by looking through a magnifying glass at these pictures. In 1980 Cuadrado committed suicide after he went completely blind and the tumor in his brain became too painful to face. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 Desmontando el HD (2015) 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

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.


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