Monday, May 7, 2007

film of the day

The Spirit of The Beehive

Directed by Victor Erice
Spain 1973
With Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent
Spanish with English subtitles

The Spirit of the Beehive is a haunting allegorical film on innocence and illusion, set in post-Civil War Spain.  Ana and Isabel, two lonely young sisters, see the film Frankenstein at a makeshift theater.  Ana, unsettled by the brutal acts of the monster and the townspeople in the film, desperately seeks explanation.  Taking her to an abandoned barn, Isabel claims to see the immortal spirit of the monster in the well;  Ana becomes obsessed with the idea of befriending it.

This film is a deceptively lyrical tale of idyllic childhood memories and a disturbing portrait of isolation.  It reminded me of another film of childhood loneliness, The Curse of the Cat People.

Ana Torrent, as Ana, is extraordinary.  And this is one film I wish I could've seen on the big screen for the beautiful vistas of Spain.


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