Archive of films The Spirit of the Beehive / El espíritu de la colmena

Spain
1973, 97 min

Section: Six Close Encounters
Year: 2017

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.

Guy Lodge


Synopsis

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.

Guy Lodge

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.

Contacts

Tamasa Distribution
63, rue de Ponthieu, 750 08, Paris
France
Tel: +33 143 590 101
Fax: +33 143 596 441
E-mail: contact@tamasadistribution.com

Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales
Plaza del Rey 1, 28004, Madrid
Spain
Tel: +34 917 017 000, +34 917 017 259
Fax: +34 917 017 394
E-mail: rafael.cabrera@mecd.es
www: www.mecd.gob.es/cultura-mecd

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Six Close Encounters
   
Director: Víctor Erice
Screenplay: Francisco J. Querejeta
Dir. of Photography: Luis Cuadrado
Music: Luis de Pablo
Editor: Pablo G. del Amo
Art Director: Adolfo Cofino
Producer: Elías Querejeta
Production: Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas S. L., Jacel Desposito
Cast: Ana Torrent, Isabel Telleria, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera
Sales: Tamasa Distribution
Contact: Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales

Guests

Guy Lodge

Journalist, Film Critic

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