Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blind Spot: The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)


Directed by Víctor Erice
Produced by Elías Querejeta
Written by Víctor Erice, Ángel Fernández Santos and Francisco J. Querejeta
Starring Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent and Isabel Tellería

Plot Summary: After attending a special screening of Frankenstein (1931) with her sister, young Ana (Torrent), a Spanish country girl, enters her own fantasy world.

Significance: Hailed as one of Spain's greatest films, this fable has been lauded by critics and film journalists across the globe. It's essential world cinema, and has been featured in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll, with 20 critics' votes and 6 directorial ones. In addition, the film has influenced filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro, who referenced it in Pan's Labyrinth (2006).

Thoughts: As the film unfolds, it allows the viewer to gradually fall into this fantasy with Ana and experience her journey with equal awe and confusion. The vivid imagery creates a chilling, atmospheric world aided by the beautiful landscape of rural Spain. Torrent, who was only six at time of filming, delivers a brilliant performance, perfectly capturing Ana's [the character's] innocence. If you're interested in a dark childhood fantasy, this classic Spanish film is worth seeing.

Rating: ****

This is the third film in my 2013 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.


  1. I saw this film a few years ago and fell in love with it. I immediately thought of not just del Toro but also Terrence Malick since Victor Erice is a filmmaker like Malick who doesn't make films very often.

    I showed this film to my mother and grandmother a couple of years ago when it aired on Turner Classic Movies just a few months before my grandmother died. She loved the film. I was glad I was able to show her something great in those final months.

    1. Never thought of Malick, but I can see the connection now that you mention it.

      That sounds like a very rewarding experience. I wish I could show films like this to my family.

  2. Interesting idea for a blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Spain's greatest film? Wow, I should give this a watch then.

    1. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it, Ruth.