Archive of films Spirit of the Beehive / El espíritu de la colmena
1973, 97 min
Section: Six Close Encounters
My love for The Spirit of the Beehive has been constant since my first year of university in Johannesburg, when it was shown to me on VHS by my film-obsessed Spanish teacher. Víctor Erice's shimmering, amber-lit masterpiece is cinema’s most poetic study of childhood imagination, how it is moulded and how it in turn moulds us forever… Bringing it to Karlovy Vary is akin to sharing a dream space.
For the better part of a decade, I’ve worked in London as a film critic for Variety, and attended a wealth of international festivals. It's a delightful job, but also a challenging one: your perspective on cinema is forever tested and expanded, and even some of your favourite films can change in your view. But my love for The Spirit of the Beehive has been constant since my first year of university in Johannesburg, when it was shown to me on VHS by my film-obsessed Spanish teacher. Víctor Erice's shimmering, amber-lit masterpiece is cinema’s most poetic study of childhood imagination, how it is moulded and how it in turn moulds us forever; by extension, it is one of the cinema's great odes to its own power, as it hooks and haunts its audience the way young Ana is changed by a projection of Frankenstein. Years later, I first saw it on a big screen in London's National Gallery, and its serene, eerie imagery burrowed further beneath my skin. Bringing it to Karlovy Vary is akin to sharing a dream space.
About the director
Víctor Erice (b. 1940, Carranza, Spain) first studied political economics before attending Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia in 1963 to study film direction. While at school he made a name for himself as a film critic and theoretician, and he began his professional moviemaking career as an assistant director. Thanks to producer Elías Querejeta he got a chance to direct his own work. He co-authored and directed a segment of the story showcase The Challenges (Los desafíos, 1969), awarded at the San Sebastián IFF. At the same fest in 1973 Erice took the Golden Shell for his feature debut The Spirit of the Beehive, which pits the poetic world of childhood fantasies against Franco’s totalitarianism. After a decade-long hiatus, the director came out with another esthetically elegant and stylized picture, El sur (1983), which also picked up a number of awards. Although shot at more extended intervals, he continues to make documentaries and features of varying lengths.
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About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||Six Close Encounters|
|Screenplay:||Francisco J. Querejeta|
|Dir. of Photography:||Luis Cuadrado|
|Music:||Luis de Pablo|
|Editor:||Pablo G. del Amo|
|Art Director:||Adolfo Cofino|
|Production:||Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas S. L., Jacel Desposito|
|Cast:||Ana Torrent, Isabel Telleria, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera|
|Contact:||Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales|
Journalist, Film Critic