The Spirit of the Beehive (El espiritu de la colmena)

Spanish master Victor Erice's 1973 debut is routinely remembered as one of the greatest films ever made, and it remains perhaps the finest and most beautifully wrought first film of the European ’70s. Set in post-Civil War 1940, the movie dreamily documents life in a rural Castilian village, but relationships are ambiguous; precedence is given to the overbearing call-and-answer between earth and sky, and to the arrival in town of a traveling projectionist and an old, dubbed copy of James Whale's Frankenstein (1931). For two ebony-eyed sisters (Ana Torrent and Isabel Telleria), the film's fierce oddness is electric, but it rhymes with the world as they see it -- stretching away from them in every direction, rife with unclear connections, inhabited by images that belie their own meaning. Mushrooms, family snapshots, grown-up behavior, a dead body, the movie image itself: Everything disguises its true nature, and Erice's idea -- that childhood is a process of understanding the lies of life -- is nearly as harrowing as the size of the landscape in contrast to its pint-sized heroines.



  • Víctor Erice


  • Fernando Fernán Gómez
  • Teresa Gimpera
  • Ana Torrent
  • Isabel Tellería
  • Ketty de la Cámara
  • Estanis González
  • José Villasante
  • Juan Margallo
  • Laly Soldevila
  • Miguel Picazo


  • Víctor Erice
  • Ángel Fernández Santos


  • Elías Querejeta

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