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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.

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Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay)

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7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 January 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Spirit of the Beehive  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is no shot of all the family in a single frame in the entire film: even in the dinner-table scene, the actors are shown separately. 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

Isabel: Papa, have you ever picked a bad mushroom?
Fernando: No. You know why?
Isabel: Why?
Fernando: Because I always do like my grandfather told me.
[he gets up and starts to walk; the girls follow]
Fernando: 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lágrimas negras (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

La Lirio
Written by José Antonio Ochaíta (as Ochaíta), Rafael de León (as León) y Manuel L. Quiroga (as Quiroga)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 See 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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