Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Spirit of the Beehive [1973]



-->Spanish director Victor Erice, like his American counterpart Terrence Mallick, is a deeply enigmatic filmmaker (he has made just three movies in his entire career!). However, for me, the similarity doesn’t end there; his legendary debut feature The Spirit of the Beehive, through its incredible visual beauty, ravishing silhouettes, dreamy landscapes, sparse dialogues and languid pacing, heavily reminded me of Mallick’s spellbinding first film Badlands. Set towards the end of Franco’s iron-hand reign, a turbulent period that continues to be the source for such powerful films like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, the movie is a lyrical lamentation on lost innocence. Ana and Isabel (amazingly performed by Ana Torrent and Isabel Telleria, respectively) are two young girls who happen to watch James Whale’s Frankenstein at a traveling film show. The movie casts a profound impact on young Ana’s mind as she gradually gets enmeshed in a make-believe world far separated from reality. Meanwhile their parents, too, dwell in their own severely cocooned existences, oblivious of the world around them. This movie still continues to be one of the most moody and haunting depictions of that wondrous yet painfully short-lived time in one's life called ‘childhood’.






Director: Victor Erice
Genre: Drama/Surreal Drama/Fantasy
Language: Spanish
Country: Spain

9 comments:

Just Another Film Buff said...

Good god, was about to watch this film shortly. Telepathic.

Shubhajit said...

Don't they say, great men think alike :)

Toto said...

Thanks Shubhajit for introducing an interesting Spanish movie.

-Toto
www.pixmonk.com

Shubhajit said...

The pleasure is entirely mine.

jojo said...
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Just Another Film Buff said...

Just saw the film. Jaw-dropping cinema. Trenchant socio-political exploration with brutally moving performance by Ana. Could well go on to become one of my all time favorites...

Shubhajit said...

Well, I too quite literally stumbled onto this movie thanks to a colleague of mine. Socio-political exploration through a child's eyes, if nicely done, can be far more effective and profound than through an adult's eyes.

Roy Stafford said...

As they say, "if you like this, you should try" Raise Ravens (Cría cuervos) directed by Carlos Saura in 1975. Ana Torrent is just a couple of years older (I guess you know that she became a massive child star?) and the whole film works as another allegorical piece about life under Franco.

Shubhajit said...

Yeah, I know. I already have Cria Cuervos in my possession, but haven't ended up watching it yet thanks to a huge pipeline of unwatched movies.